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Jp°CHARLES   COX,    LL.D.,  F.S.A. 


METHUEN   &   CO. 

36    ESSEX    STREET    W.C. 


Published  in 









AND    OF    HIS    SKILL 




I.  EARLY  FORESTS                 .  .  .  .  i 

II.  THE  FOREST  COURTS       .  .  .  .  .  •    10 

III.  THE  FOREST  OFFICERS    .  .  .  .  17 

IV.  THE  BEASTS  OF  THE  FOREST  .  .  .  25 

VI.    HOUNDS  AND  HUNTING    .  .  .  .  -47 

VII.    THE  TREES  OF  THE  FOREST         .  .  .  .68 

VIII.    LATER  FOREST  HISTORY  .  .  .  -76 



X.  THE  FORESTS  OF  LANCASHIRE     .  .  .  .98 


XII.  THE  FORESTS  OF  CHESHIRE         ....    131 


XIV.  THE  FOREST  OF  THE  HIGH  PEAK  .  .  .150 
XV.  DUFFIELD  FRITH                .             .             .             .  .181 

XVI.    SHERWOOD  FOREST  .....   204 


AND  HEREFORD  .....   223 


XIX.    THE  FOREST  OF  ROCKINGHAM     ....  237 

XX.    THE  FOREST  OF  OXFORDSHIRE    ....   257 


HUNTINGDONSHIRE         .....   266 

XXII.    THE  FOREST  OF  DEAN     .....   274 
XXIII.    THE  FOREST  OF  ESSEX   .....   283 



XXIV.  THE  FOREST  OF  WINDSOR        ....   287 

XXV.  THE  FORESTS  OF  SUSSEX          ....  301 


XXVII.  THE  FORESTS  OF  WILTS            .             .             .             .  313 

XXVIII.  THE  FORESTS  OF  DORSETSHIRE             .             .             .  330 

XXIX.  THE  FORESTS  OF  SOMERSETSHIRE         .             .             .  333 

XXX.  THE  FOREST  OF  DARTMOOR      ....  340 



Verderer's  Slab,  Bakewell                  .  .  .                 .             .         .        17 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Verderer's  Slab,  Chelmorton              .  .  .                 .             .         .        18 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Forester's  Slab,  Wirksworth              .  .  .                                                18 
J.  Charles  Wall. 

Forester's  Slab,   Bakewell                   .  .  .                 ...        19 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Forester's  Slab,  Hope         .                 .  .  .                 ...        19 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Forester's  Slab,  Hope         .                 .  .  .                 ...       21 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Forester's  Slab,   Papplewick               .  .  .                 .             .         .       21 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Woodward's  Slab,  Newcastle-on-Tyne  .  .                 ...       23 
J.  Charles  Wall. 

Woodward's  Slab,   Papplewick          .  .  .                 ...       23 

J    Charles  Wall. 

Hunting  Dog's      .                 .  .  .                 ...       51 

Berners  or  Harbourers       .                 .  .  .                 •             •         •       55 

Wyrall  Effigy       .                 .                 .  .  .                 ...       66 

Wyrall  Effigy       .                 .                 .  .  .                 ...       67 

Deer  Hunters  of  Cranborne  Chase  .  .                 ...       83 

V.  M.  M.  Cox. 

Hunting  Costume,  Seventeenth  Century         .  .  ...       89 

Chief  Forester's  Slab,  Durham         .  .  .                 ...       97 

J.  Charles  Wall. 

Hunting  Costume,  Thirteenth  Century  .  .                 ...      182 

Letters  in  Centre  of  Oak                   .  .  .                  .             .         .     221 

Hunting  Costume,  Fourteenth  Century  .  .                 ...     238 

Cattle  Brands,  Essex  Forest             .  .  .                 ...     285 

The  Hart  (Turbervile)        .                 .  .  .                 ...     298 

King  and  Queen  Oaks,   New  Forest  .  .                 ...     308 
M.  E.  Purser. 

The  Hare  (Turbervile)        .                 .  .  .                 i.             .         .     334 


The  Greendale  Oak  .... 

From  Strutt's  Sylva  Jiritannica,  1826. 

I.     The  King-  Hunting-  (i)        . 

Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Royal   10  E.  iv.,  ff.  253-4. 

II.     The  King-  Hunting  (2)         .... 
Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Royal  10  E.  iv.,  ff.  255-6. 

III.  Head  of  Attachment  Court  Roll 

Accounts  Exch.  Q.  R.,  >f£,  temp.  Edw.  II. 

IV.  Red  Deer  ..... 

From  Gilpin's  Forest  Scenery,  1791. 

V.     Wild  Boars  ..... 

Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Add.  27,  699. 

VI.     Wolf  and  Sheepfold  and  Wild  Goats 

Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Royal  12  C.  xix.,  ff.  14,  19. 

VII.      Pigs  of  the  New   Forest      .... 
From  Gilpin's  Forest  Scenery,   1791. 

VIII.      Netting  in  Woods  and  Streams 

Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Cott.,  Tib.  A.  vii.,  f.  51. 

IX.     The  Four  Beasts  of  Venery 
X.     The  Four  Beasts  of  Chase 

XI.     The  Four  Beasts  of  Sport 

Plates  IX.,  X.,  and  XI.,  are  from  Cott.  MSS.,  Vesf.  B.  xii., 
ff.  i,  2. 

XII.     Maple  Tree,  Boldre  Churchyard 

From  Strutt's  Sylva  Britannica,  1826. 

XIII.  Straw    Helmets   and   Swindgel  of  the    Deerhunters  of 

Cranborne  Chase  .... 

V.  M.  M.  Cox. 

XIV.  Deer  Stalking       ..... 

Brit.  Mus.  Add.  MSS.,  27,  699,  ff.  108-9. 

XV.     Forest  Hermit       ..... 
Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Royal  19  E.  iii.,  f.  133. 

To  face  page    4 





1 08 

LIST    OF    PLATES  xi 

XVI.     Berner  and  Limehound,  and  Cross-bow  Shooting          To  face  page    122 
XVII.     Dog-  Leeching  and  Rewarding  the  Hounds  .  .  ,,  140 

XVIII.     Foxes,  Deer  in  Forest,  and  Wolves  .  .  ,,  164 

Plates  XVI.,  XVII.,  and  XVIII.  are  from  Add.  MSS.,  27,  699, 
ff.  6,  20,  23,  28,  50,  58,  109. 

XIX.     Sherwood  Forester  of  Fee,  Skegby  Church   .  .  ,,  204 

Photograph  from  the  Rev.  H.  J.  Stamper. 

XX.     Monument  of  Thomas  Leake,  Blidworth  Church          .  ,,  216 

Photograph  from  the  Rev.  R.  H.  Whit  worth. 

XXI.     Hay  wood  Oaks,  Blidworth  .  .  ,,  222 

Photographs  from  Rev.  R.   H.  Whitworth. 

XXII.     Ladies  Rabbiting  .  .  .  ,,  304 

Brit.  Mus.  MSS.,  Royal  10  E.  iv. 

XXIII.  The  Hill  Woods,  Lyndhurst  .  .  ,,316 

From  "  The  New  Forest,"  Horace  G.   Hutchinson. 

XXIV.  A  Deer  Leap,  Wolseley  Park  .  ,,  330 

W.  Salt,  Arch.  Soc.,  vol.  v. 


COUNTY  historians  have,  as  a  rule,  with  but  rare  ex- 
ceptions, either  entirely  ignored  the  story  of  the  royal 
forests  within  their  confines,  or  have  treated  the  subject 
after  the  most  meagre  fashion.  Nevertheless,  there  is  abundant 
and  most  interesting  material  for  their  history  at  the  Public 
Record  Office  in  a  mass  of  documents  which  are  but  very 
rarely  consulted.  Occasionally,  too,  much  can  be  gleaned  from 
manuscripts  at  the  British  Museum,  Cambridge  University 
Library,  Guildhall,  or  Lincoln's  Inn,  and  in  a  few  cases  from 
rolls  or  books  of  forest  proceedings  in  private  hands. 

If  references  had  been  given  to  every  document  cited,  almost 
every  page  would  have  bristled  with  footnotes,  involving  a 
considerable  curtailment  of  the  rest  of  the  letterpress.  Not 
a  single  statement,  however,  is  made — where  no  author  is  cited 
— save  on  the  authority  of  original  and  contemporary  records. 

It  may  be  helpful  to  some  to  state  the  chief  classes  of 
documents  whence  forest  lore  is  to  be  obtained  in  the  vast 
national  depository  in  Chancery  Lane. 

(1)  Placitag   Foresta,    or    Forest    Proceedings,    Chancery — 
John  to  Charles  I. — consisting  of  presentments,  claims,  per- 
ambulations, etc.,  before  the  Justices  in  Eyre  of  the  Forests. 
They  are  contained  in  156  bundles,  and  an  inventory  of  their 
contents  will  be  found  in  the  Dep.-Master  of  Rolls  Reports,  v., 
App.  ii.,  46-56. 

(2)  Swainmote  Court  Rolls  of   Windsor,   2    Edw.    VI.    to 
14  Charles  I.     Inventory  in  Report,  v.,  App.  ii.,  57-9. 

PREFACE  xiii 

(3)  Forest  Proceedings,   Exchequer,  Treasury  of  Receipt, 
Henry  III.  to  Charles  II.     To  these  documents  there  are  three 
volumes  of  MS.  Calendars. 

(4)  Miscellaneous  Books  of  Exchequer,  Treasury  of  Receipt, 
vol.  75,  Edw.  I.;  assarts  and  wastes  in  diverse  forests,  vol.  76; 
pleas  and  presentments  of  Sherwood,  Hen.  III.  to  Edw.  III.; 
vol.  77,  game  in  all  forests  north  of  the  Trent,  30  Hen.  VIII. 

(5)  A  Book  of  Orders  concerning  Royal  Forests,  1637-1648. 
State  Papers,  Domestic,  Charles  I.,  vol.  384. 

(6)  Records  of   Duchy  of   Lancaster.     A    great  variety  of 
forest  presentments,  attachments,  perambulations,  pleas,  etc., 
Hen.    III.    to   James    I.,    pertain    to    Lancashire,    Yorkshire, 
Staffordshire,  Derbyshire,  etc.    A  printed  list  of  all  the  Duchy 
Records  was  issued  in   1901;  those  relating  to  forests  are  on 
pp.  39-47.     Among  the  maps  and  plans  (pp.  76-80)  are  many 
relating  to  the  Forest  of  the  High  Peak. 

(7)  Lists  of  Minister  Accounts,  with  thorough  indexes,  were 
issued  in  1899  ;  much  royal  forest  information  occurs  in  many 
of  these  accounts. 

(8)  Occasionally  Court  Rolls  of  Manors,  etc.,  yield  informa- 
tion ;  these  also  have  printed  lists  and  indexes,  issued  in  1896. 

(9)  Both  Close  and  Patent  Rolls  for  the  thirteenth  and  four- 
teenth centuries  abound  in  royal  forest  incidents;  they  have  been 
well  calendered  (printed)  for  the  greater  part  of  this  period. 

As  to  these  records,  I  have  a  large  number  of  references  and 
brief  extracts — far  more  than  are  used  in  the  following  pages — 
for  the  different  counties,  and  I  would  gladly  on  application 
save  trouble,  if  I  could,  to  any  genuine  worker  as  to  a  particular 
forest  or  forests. 

With  regard  to  printed  books  that  bear  on  the  subject, 
references  to  the  more  important  will  be  found  in  each  of  the 
chapters  ;  but  there  are  three  of  such  real  value  on  this  little 
studied  subject  that  they  demand  special  mention. 

In  1887,  Mr.  W.  R.  Fisher  published  a  4to  volume  on 
The  Forest  of  Essex:  its  History,  Laws,  Administration,  and 
Ancient  Customs,  and  the  Wild  Deer  which  lived  in  it.  The 


book  owed  its  origin  to  the  spirited  action  of  the  Corporation 
of  the  City  of  London,  in  rescuing  much  of  the  illegally  en- 
closed land  of  Epping  Forest ;  it  is  based  throughout  on 
documentary  evidence,  and  illustrates,  in  many  ways,  forest 
law  and  procedure  in  other  counties  besides  Essex. 

The  documents  relative  to  the  Yorkshire  Forest  of  Pickering 
are  exceptionally  voluminous  and  interesting.  They  sufficed 
to  fill  four  volumes  of  the  new  series  of  the  North  Riding 
Record  Society,  and  were  put  forth  by  Mr.  R.  B.  Turton 
between  1894-7.  I  nacl  obtained  transcripts  of  many  of  these 
documents  in  1890,  and  made  considerable  extracts  from  others 
in  1902-3  before  I  was  acquainted  with  these  books.  They  are 
not  well  arranged,  but  both  transcripts  and  introductions  are 
of  the  greatest  value  to  the  forest  student,  particularly  of  the 
fourteenth  century. 

In  1901  the  Selden  Society  issued  Mr.  G.  J.  Turner's  Select 
Pleas  of  the  Forest,  the  one  masterly  work  on  English  forest 
law  and  procedure,  more  especially  of  the  thirteenth  century. 
To  this  admirable  volume  these  pages  are  much  indebted,  and 
from  it  not  infrequent  quotations  have  by  leave  been  taken. 
I  desire  also  here  to  gratefully  acknowledge  the  help  I  have 
received  from  Mr.  Turner,  outside  his  published  work,  and 
particularly  for  his  reading  the  proof  of  the  earlier  chapters, 
though  it  is  not  to  be  understood  that  he  is  responsible  for  any 
statements.  It  is  much  to  be  hoped  that  Mr.  Turner  will  ere 
long  produce  another  book  on  the  later  Forest  Pleas  in  the 
time  of  their  decadence. 

Passing  long  periods  of  my  earlier  life  within  the  bounds  of 
two  old  royal  forests,  Exmoor,  Somerset,  and  Duffield  Frith, 
Derbyshire,  and  living  subsequently  close  to  the  confines  of 
the  Staffordshire  forests  of  Kinver,  Cannock,  and  Needwood, 
the  subject  treated  of  in  these  pages  has  always  had  for  me  a 
particular  fascination.  Accidentally  meeting  in  early  life  with 
a  copy  of  that  very  rare  little  work,  Dryden's  edition  of  L! Art 
de  Venerie  (1843),  by  William  Twici,  huntsman  to  Edward  II., 
which  is  described  in  chapter  vi.,  made  me  desire  to  know 


more  about  the  subject.  Thirty  years  later  I  had  the  good 
fortune  to  make  the  acquaintance  of  that  rare  old  antiquary 
and  sportsman,  the  late  Sir  Henry  Dryden,  Bart.  Various 
discussions  and  correspondence  on  England's  forest  law  and 
early  hunting  led  to  his  desiring  me  to  bring  out  a  new  and 
extended  edition  of  his  valuable  little  treatise.  The  project 
got  deferred,  but  this  book,  in  which  his  drawings  of  hunting 
costumes  and  hounds  are  reproduced,  to  some  extent  fulfils  his 

No  one  is  better  aware  of  the  deficiencies  of  these  pages  than 
the  writer.  It  would  have  been  easy  enough  to  have  found 
original  material  sufficient  to  fill  a  volume  of  this  size  for  almost 
each  of  the  forests  named  therein  ;  in  some  cases,  such  as  the 
Peak  Forest,  Rockingham,  and  more  especially  Sherwood,  it 
seemed  almost  sinful  to  be  content  with  such  brief  summaries 
of  a  few  of  the  more  important  facts.  Nevertheless,  it  seemed 
best  on  the  whole  to  condense  the  entire  matter  within  the 
limits  (kindly  made  more  elastic  in  this  case)  assigned  to  the 
series  of  "Antiquary's  Books."  In  doing  this,  certain  sections 
that  had  been  prepared  on  such  subjects  as  the  Clergy  and 
Forest  Pleas,  Historic  Trees,  Place  and  Personal  Names  in 
Forest  Districts,  and  a  Glossary  of  Terms  had  to  be  abandoned. 
In  the  heartless  work  of  cutting  down,  by  more  than  one  half, 
the  material  prepared  for  the  press,  as  well  as  in  other  ways, 
I  had  the  timely  assistance  of  my  son,  Mr.  Cuthbert  Machell 

It  might  be  well  for  the  reader  interested  in  any  particular 
forest  or  shire  to  recollect  that  illustrations  of  any  special  topic 
treated  of  in  the  opening  chapters  are  not,  as  a  rule,  repeated 
subsequently  ;  reference  to  the  index  will  often  supplement 
,  information  given  under  the  chapter  on  a  definite  shire.  It  is 
hoped,  too,  that  the  index  will  serve  as  a  glossary,  as  each 
forest  term  used  is  explained  once  or  oftener  in  the  text. 

The  absence  of  any  reference  to  the  counties  of  Bedford, 
Cambridge,  Cornwall,  Hertford,  Lincoln,  Middlesex,  Mon- 
mouth,  Norfolk,  and  Suffolk,  arises  from  the  fact  that  there  is 



practically  no   information   with  regard  to  any  royal   forests 
within  their  confines. 

If  these  pages  arouse  greater  interest  in  the  much  neglected 
story  of  England's  royal  forests,  it  will  be  an  abundant  reward 
for  no  small  amount  of  time  and  trouble  expended  on  record 
searching  and  on  general  reading  in  the  pursuit  of  a  subject 
that  was  at  one  time  so  widely  developed,  and  had  so  great  an 
influence  on  our  social  and  economic  life. 


July,  1905 



FOREST,"  according  to  the  last  edition  of  the  Encyclo- 
pcedia  Britannica,  "  is  a  tract  of  country  covered  with 
trees,  of  one  or  several  species,  or  with  trees  and 
underwood."  This  has  become  the  popularly  accepted  mean- 
ing of  the  term  for  several  generations,  but  it  is  historically 
false  ;  and  so  far  as  this  volume  is  concerned,  we  have  to  go 
back  to  Manwood's  definition  as  expressed  in  his  Laives  of 
the  Forest  (1598),  wherein  he  describes  a  forest  as  "a  certen 
territorie  of  wooddy  grounds  and  fruitfull  pastures,  priviledged 
for  wild  beasts  and  foules  of  forrest,  chase,  and  warren,  to  rest 
and  abide  in,  in  the  safe  protection  of  the  king,  for  his  princely 
delight  and  pleasure." 

But  even  Manwood,  and  others  who  have  followed  him,  are 
not  correct  in  assuming  that  the  term  originally,  or  of  necessity, 
implied  woody  grounds  or  natural  woodland.  Dr.  Wedgwood 
seems  to  be  right  in  considering  "forest"  as  a  modified  form 
of  the  Welsh  gores,  gorest,  waste,  waste  ground ;  whence  the 
English  word  gorse,  furze,  the  growth  of  waste  land.  Others 
consider  its  derivation  to  be  from  the  Latin  forts,  out  of  doors, 
the  unenclosed  open  land.  From  the  fact  that  so  many  wastes 
were  covered  with  wood  or  undergrowth,  it  gradually  came 
about  that  the  term  "forest "  was  applied  to  a  great  wood. 

Perhaps  the  following  definition  is  as  accurate  a  one  as  can 


be  given  in  a  few  words,  of  what  used  to  be  understood  by 
the  English  term  "forest"  in  Norman,  Plantagenet,  and  early 
Tudor  days.  A  forest  was  a  portion  of  territory  consisting  of 
extensive  waste  lands,  and  including  a  certain  amount  of  both 
woodland  and  pasture,  circumscribed  by  defined  metes  and 
bounds,  within  which  the  right  of  hunting  was  reserved  ex- 
clusively to  the  king,  and  which  was  subject  to  a  special  code 
of  laws  administered  by  local  as  well  as  central  ministers. 

Had  the  true  meaning  of  the  old  term  "forest"  been  grasped, 
much  waste  of  learning,  and  of  vain  strivings  to  prove  that 
such  barren  tracts  as  by  far  the  greater  part  of  the  forests  of 
Dartmoor,  of  Exmoor,  and  of  the  High  Peak,  or  even  of  the 
larger  portion  of  the  New  Forest  were  wood-covered  in  historic 
times,  might  have  been  spared. 

A  chase  was,  like  a  forest,  unenclosed  and  only  defined  by 
metes  and  bounds,  but  could  be  held  by  a  subject.  Offences 
committed  therein  were,  as  a  rule,  punishable  by  the  Common 
Law  and  not  by  forest  jurisdiction,  though  swainmotes  were 
sometimes  held  therein,  proving  that  they  had  originally  been 
royal  forests.  The  terms  "chase"  and  "forest"  were  occasion- 
ally used  interchangeably,  owing  to  a  chase  having  been  secured 
by  the  Crown,  or  the  Crown  having  granted  a  royal  forest  to 
a  subject. 

A  park  was  an  enclosure,  fenced  off  by  pales  or  a  wall.  In 
certain  forests  there  were  various  parks,  as  in  Dufifield  Frith, 
and  Needwood,  and  Sherwood ;  and  in  most,  at  least  one 
or  two  ;  but  many  parks  were  held  throughout  the  country 
by  subjects  under  Crown  licence,  altogether  apart  from  forests. 
Forest  law  prevailed  in  parks  within  a  forest,  but  not  in  those 
outside  such  limits.  An  Elizabethan  estimate,  of  doubtful 
value,  states  that  the  old  royal  forests  were  sixty-nine  in 
number,  and  that  there  were  in  addition  thirteen  chases  and 
more  than  seven  hundred  parks. 

The  term  "warren"  also  requires  brief  discussion.  The  public 
had  a  right  to  hunt  wild  animals  in  any  unenclosed  land 
outside  forest  limits,  unless  such  right  had  been  restricted  by 
some  special  royal  grant.  The  word  "warren" — the  subject  is 
ably  treated  by  Mr.  Turner  (Forest  Pleas,  cxxiii.-cxxxiv.) — was 
used  to  denote  either  the  exclusive  right  of  hunting  and  taking 
certain  beasts  (ferce  natures}  in  a  particular  place,  or  the  land 


over  which  such  right  existed.  Grants  of  free-warren  over 
demesne  lands  outside  forests,  so  frequently  made  by  our  earlier 
kings  both  to  religious  foundations  and  to  private  individuals, 
prevented  anyone  entering  on  such  lands  to  hunt  or  to  take 
anything  belonging  to  the  warren  without  the  owner's  licence, 
under  the  great  penalty  of  £10.  No  one  might,  therefore, 
follow  the  hunt  of  a  hare  or  of  a  fox  or  other  vermin  into 
warrenable  land  ;  but  following  the  hunt  of  deer  into  such 
land  was  held  to  be  no  trespass,  as  deer  were  not  beasts  of  the 
warren.  Lords  of  warrens  had  the  power  of  impounding  the 
greyhounds  or  other  dogs,  and  the  nets  and  snares  of  tres- 

In  the  consideration  of  England's  old  forests,  it  is  well  to 
remember  that  subjects  from  time  to  time,  in  different  shires, 
were  seized  of  lands  within  forest  bounds  ;  but,  when  that  was 
the  case,  they  were  not  allowed  on  such  lands  the  right  of 
hunting,  or  of  cutting  trees,  or  of  high  fence  making,  or  of 
doing  anything  which  could  be  interpreted  as  detrimental  to 
the  deer,  save  by  special  grant  from  the  Crown. 

It  has  been  pointed  out  by  Mr.  Turner  that  the  history  of 
English  forests  divides  itself  into  three  periods,  namely,  from 
the  earliest  times  up  to  1217,  when  the  Charter  of  the  Forest 
of  Henry  III.  was  granted  ;  from  that  date  up  to  1301,  when 
large  tracts  were  disafforested  by  Edward  I.  ;  and  thirdly,  from 
1301  up  to  the  present  day. 

As  to  the  story  of  the  forests  in  the  first  of  these  periods,  it 
must  largely  partake  of  the  nature  of  conjecture  based  upon 
subsequent  knowledge. 

As  the  Romans  gradually  made  themselves  masters  of 
England,  they  must  have  destroyed  much  of  the  vast  extent 
of  woods  that  gave  shelter  to  the  British  tribes.  This  work 
of  destruction — begun  in  the  later  prehistoric  stage — was 
accelerated  by  two  other  causes,  apart  from  military  reasons  ; 
wooded  districts  were  cleared  in  order  to  use  the  richer  tracts 
for  tillage  and  pasturage  ;  whilst  the  greater  attention  paid  to 
iron  and  lead  smelting  led  to  a  steady  diminution  in  timber 
through  the  demands  for  fuel. 

The  Saxons  made  further  development  of  iron  smelting 
works.  This  gradual  clearance  of  the  natural  woods,  coupled 
with  enclosures  of  land  round  homesteads  and  settlements, 


drove  back  the  deer  and  other  game  into  the  depths  of  the 
woods  and  the  more  desolate  districts. 

These  wilder  tracts  were  used  as  common  hunting  grounds  ; 
but  in  course  of  time  the  chieftains  and  more  powerful  local 
men  usurped  the  rights  hitherto  exercised  by  all.  Eventually, 
as  the  Saxon  overlords  or  kings  gained  greater  power,  they 
claimed,  as  part  of  their  royal  prerogative,  the  right  to  reserve 
the'  chase,  or  at  all  events  the  higher  chase  of  the  deer,  in 
selected  areas  chosen  for  their  nearness  to  favourite  residences, 
or  for  the  exceptional  predominance  of  game.  The  royal 
hunting  grounds  (silva  regis)  as  well  as  the  king's  lands  or 
royal  demesnes  (terra  regis)  were  gradually  formed  out  of 
the  original  folkland  held  by  the  common  people  under  their 
thegn ;  so  that  when  Egbert,  in  the  ninth  century,  became  the 
first  king  of  all  England,  he  found  himself  possessed  of  many 
royal  hunting  grounds  in  most  parts  of  his  kingdom. 

During  the  later  Saxon  and  Danish  period  the  chase  became 
more  and  more  restricted.  The  freeholder  still  had  the  right 
to  kill  the  big  game  on  his  own  land,  but  might  not  follow  it 
into  or  upon  the  king's  woods.  The  lesser  game  could,  how- 
ever, be  then  followed  even  in  the  king's  woods  by  the  holder 
of  the  land,  up  to  the  time  of  the  Conquest. 

In  this,  as  in  so  many  other  respects,  the  mention  of  forests  or 
woods  in  Domesday  Survey  is  merely  incidental.  The  name 
of  swainmote,  as  applied  to  a  minor  forest  court  of  local 
administration,  which  so  long  survived  and  was  of  such 
general  use,  is  in  itself  sufficient  to  establish  the  fact  that  there 
was  a  pre-Norman  customary  forest  law.  The  question  as  to  the 
first  introduction  of  a  body  of  written  forest  law  in  this  country 
depends  largely  upon  the  genuineness  of  the  code  usually 
attributed  to  Canute,  and  termed  Constitutiones  de  Foresta. 
This  Latin  code,  in  thirty-four  brief  chapters,  purports  to  have 
been  drawn  up  by  Canute  both  for  the  English  and  the  Danes. 
Although  its  authenticity  was  long  ago  doubted  by  Coke,  it 
has  been  quoted  by  many  able  writers,  such  as  Palgrave  and 
Kemble,  without  the  expression  of  any  doubt  as  to  it  being  a 
genuine  historic  document  ;  but  Professor  Freeman  and 
Bishop  Stubbs  subsequently  adduced  such  weighty  reasons  for 
considering  this  code  a  forgery,  or  at  all  events  containing  so 
many  interpolations  as  to  be  valueless,  that  present-day 




scholars  are  almost  unanimous  in  rejecting  it.  The  best 
defence  of  it  is  to  be  found  in  Mr.  Fisher's  Forest  of  Essex. 
On  the  whole,  it  seems  probable  that  this  Latin  code  has  a 
certain  value  in  showing  the  general  drift  and  tendency  of 
Anglo-Danish  forest  law;  but  that  its  worth  has  been  vitiated 
by  being  dressed  up  at  the  hands  of  some  Norman  scribe,  with 
the  object  of  lessening  the  hostility  to  the  severity  of  the  forest 
laws  introduced  by  the  Conqueror. 

The  Conqueror  acquired,  by  right  of  conquest,  not  only  the 
demesne  lands  of  the  Confessor  and  of  the  nobles  who  had 
opposed  him,  but  also  all  the  rights  of  the  chase  over  great 
woodland  or  open  stretches  of  both  cultivated  and  unculti- 
vated ground,  where  royal  hunting  rights  had  previously 
been  exercised  by  Saxon  or  Danish  kings.  With  William 
and  his  immediate  successors  the  chase  was  a  passion,  and 
hence  a  code  of  singularly  harsh  and  burdensome  "forest" 
laws  soon  came  into  operation.  The  Conqueror  took  advan- 
tage of  the  autocratic  position  secured  to  him  and  his  followers 
by  their  military  success,  to  carry  out  "afforestation"  not 
only  over  the  restricted  areas  that  had  been  the  hunting 
grounds  of  his  predecessors  on  the  throne,  but  over  almost 
all  the  old  folkland  that  remained  unenclosed.  The  term 
"forest,"  that  had  been  long  in  like  use  on  parts  of  the 
Continent,  was  then  introduced  into  England,  and  made  to 
embrace  vast  districts,  which  included  woodlands  and  wild 
wastes  of  moor,  as  well  as  patches  of  cultivated  land.  With- 
in these  afforested  tracts,  he  decreed  that  the  right  of  hunt- 
ing was  vested  solely  in  the  Crown,  and  could  only  be 
exercised  by  the  king,  or  by  those  who  were  specially 
privileged  under  royal  licence  to  share  in  it.  The  feudal 
idea  about  all  wild  animals,  however  monstrous  and  harsh 
in  operation,  possessed  a  rough  logical  basis.  It  was  argued 
that  all  such  animals  were  dona  vacantia,  or  ownerless  pro- 
perty, and  hence  pertained  to  the  king ;  that  hunting  was 
essentially  the  pastime  or  "game"  of  kings;  and  that  there- 
fore the  right  of  exercising  the  chase,  or  taking  all  kinds  of 
beasts  of  venery,  belonged  solely  to  the  king. 

The  subsequent  Norman  kings  added  more  or  less  largely 
to  the  "forest"  districts  of  England,  making  even  whole 
counties  subject  to  this  exceptional  jurisdiction — as,  for  instance, 


Essex  and  Surrey.  The  complaints  of  the  hardships  caused 
by  this  autocratic  proceeding  gradually  gained  strength. 
Certain  disafforestations  were  made  even  by  Henry  II.  ;  but 
in  1215  John  was  compelled  to  agree,  by  one  of  the  articles 
of  Magna  Charta,  to  the  disafforesting  of  all  the  great  tracts 
of  country  which  had  been  made  forest  during  his  own  reign. 

Soon  after  this,  in  1217,  the  child-king  Henry  was  made 
to  issue  the  Charter  of  the  Forest,  in  consideration  of  a  grant 
of  one-fifteenth  of  all  movables  of  the  whole  kingdom.  By 
this  instrument  it  was  provided  that  all  forests,  which 
Henry  II.  had  afforested,  should  be  viewed  by  good  and 
lawful  men  ;  and  that  all  that  had  been  made  forest,  other 
than  his  own  royal  demesne,  was  forthwith  to  be  disafforested. 
In  accordance  with  this  charter  special  perambulations  were 
ordered  to  be  made  before  March,  1224-5,  by  twelve  knights 
elected  for  the  purpose. 

There  is  much  confusion  among  both  national  and  local 
historians  as  to  the  number  and  extent  of  England's  forests 
at  this  period  ;  and  certain  of  our  State  documents  appear  to 
be  somewhat  contradictory.  Fortunately,  however,  a  great 
gale,  that  affected  almost  the  whole  of  England  towards  the 
close  of  the  year  1222,  was  the  incidental  cause  of  furnishing 
the  longest  extant  list,  of  an  early  date,  of  England's  royal 
forests.  The  windfall  was  so  considerable,  that  Henry  III. 
issued  orders  to  the  forest  officials  not  to  interfere  with  any 
of  the  prostrate  trees  or  broken  branches  until  further  orders, 
and  at  once  to  proceed  to  draw  up  a  careful  valuation  of  their 
worth.  Letters  to  this  effect  were  despatched  to — 

Viridariis  et  forestariis  de  feodo  de  foresta  de  Dene,  Nova 
Foresta,  Brikestok,  Braden,  Rokingham,  Lye,  Brehull 
(Bucks),  Galteriz,  Windlesore,  inter  Usam  et  Derewentem, 
Huntindonie,  Shirewud,  Rotelande,  Clive  (Northants),  Brun- 
ningemor  (Berks),  Cumberland,  Penber  (Hants),  comitatus 
Leicestrie,  Clay  (Salop),  Lya  (Salop),  Melkesham  and  Chipe- 
ham,  Get,  Savernac  (Wilts),  Northumberland,  Lancastria, 
Salopa,  Kenefer,  Canoe,  Alrewas,  Hopwas,  Kenillewurth 
(haia  et  parco),  Selewud,  Nerechirch  (Somerset),  Graveling, 
Gillingeham,  Pikering,  Porcestre,  Essexie,  Wichewud,  Axis- 
holt,  Notingham,  and  Periton  (parco). 

At  the  same  time,   like  injunctions  were  forwarded  to  the 


keepers  of  each  of  these  forests.  On  3Oth  January,  1223,  the 
king  instructed  the  sheriffs  of  all  the  counties  containing 
forests  to  place  the  money  accruing  from  the  sale  of  the  wind- 
fall in  some  religious  house  within  their  jurisdiction,  there  to 
await  further  orders,  and  to  place  with  it  a  roll  giving  full 
particulars  of  the  sales,  drawn  up  by  a  specially  appointed 
clerk  named  in  the  letters  patent. 

The  heading  to  these  instructions  on  the  Patent  and  Close 
Rolls  of  Henry  III.  is  De  Cableicio.  The  term  cableicium,  or 
cablicium  signifies  windfallen  trees,  and  corresponds  to  the 
old  French  word  chablis,  which  had  a  like  meaning.  It  is 
quite  clear  that  the  term  "cablish"  (to  use  the  English  form), 
strictly  speaking,  implies  uprooted  trees,  as  distinct  from 
mere  branches.  The  forest  officials,  after  the  great  gale, 
were  ordered  to  remove  nothing,  nee  de  cableicio  illo  neque 
de  branchura  per  impulsionem  venti  prostrata.  Nevertheless, 
the  word  was  occasionally  given  a  wider  meaning — as,  for 
instance,  in  1223,  when  cableicium  was  applied  to  twelve 
great  branches  that  had  fallen  in  Windsor  forest.  But  in 
this  case  the  wood  was  sufficiently  substantial  to  be  reserved 
for  the  repair  of  the  king's  houses.  Cablish  seems  never 
to  have  been  applied  to  such  windstrewn  wood  as  would  be 
used  for  fuel.  We  have  met  with  the  word  in  several  forest 
rolls  or  records  in  Northamptonshire,  Rutland,  Hampshire, 
and  Derbyshire  as  late  as  the  time  of  Henry  VII. ;  though  at 
that  period  the  English  word  rote/alien,  or  rootefaler,  was  more 
usual  as  descriptive  of  the  tree  uprooted  by  the  wind,  and  was 
used  in  distinction  to  the  mere  wyndfallen  wood  of  smaller 

Other  forests  that  occur  in  the  Patent  and  Close  Rolls  of  the 
earlier  years  of  Henry  III.,  which  are  not  specifically  named 
in  the  great  storm  order  of  1222,  are:  Alnwick,  Northumber- 
land; Easingwold  and  Wakefield,  Yorks;  Clipston  and  Silver- 
ston,  Northants  ;  Acornbury  and  Kilpeck,  Hereford  ;  Peak 
Forest  and  Horston,  Derbyshire  ;  Alveston,  Furches,  Keyne- 
sham,  and  Horewood,  Gloucester ;  Feckenham,  Worcester ; 
Cheddar  and  Selwood,  Somerset ;  Freemantle,  Hants ;  Buck- 
holt,  Clarendon,  Ifwood,  Sugrave,  and  Weybridge,  Wilts ; 
Poorstock,  Dorset  ;  Finmere  and  Woodstock,  Oxon  ;  and 
Havering,  Essex. 


Edward  I.  in  some  cases  broke  the  Forest  Charter  under 
legal  quibbles  ;  but  he  did  not,  in  general,  desire  that  the 
boundaries  of  the  forest  as  settled  by  his  father,  should  be 
disturbed.  Towards  the  end  of  his  reign,  however,  strong 
political  pressure  induced  him  to  consent  to  further  dis- 
afforesting. The  Forest  Charter  was  confirmed  in  1297,  but 
further  perambulations  were  undertaken  between  that  date  and 
1301,  by  which  large  reductions  were  made  in  the  forest  area. 

It  would  have  caused  general  disturbance  to  the  industries 
of  the  country,  if  the  pursuit  of  special  occupations  pertaining 
to  the  soil  had  been  prohibited  within  the  very  wide  areas  of 
the  forests.  Such  industries  were  allowed  to  be  followed  under 
particular  restrictions,  and  were  worked,  as  a  rule,  for  the  profit 
of  the  crown.  The  most  important  of  these  was  the  question 
of  iron  smelting,  particularly  as  the  forges  consumed  so  large 
an  amount  of  wood  or  charcoal.  Grants  were  made  from  the 
crown  for  permission  to  have  itinerant  forges.  Such  forges 
abounded  in  the  Forest  of  Dean,  and  were  also  met  with  in  the 
forests  of  Sussex,  Duffield,  Sherwood,  Pickering,  etc. 

Henry  III.,  in  1231,  granted  this  liberty  (forgia  itinerans) 
to  Mabel  de  Cantilupe  for  life  in  Dean  Forest.  The  grant 
states  this  was  in  accordance  with  a  custom  sanctioned  by 
John  and  other  of  the  king's  royal  ancestors.  Another  grant 
of  the  following  year  provided  that  the  lady  might  have  an 
oak  on  each  of  any  fifteen  days  she  chose,  every  year  as  long 
as  she  lived,  for  the  support  of  this  forge. 

The  symbol  of  a  man  who  was  entitled  to  use  an  itinerant 
forge  seems  to  have  been  a  pair  of  bellows.  This  symbol  is 
to  be  found  on  two  early  incised  slabs  in  the  church  of 
Papplewick,  Sherwood  Forest. 

In  some  cases  there  were  permanent  forges  of  some  size, 
belonging  to  the  crown,  within  the  forest  bounds ;  of  this 
there  were  two  instances  in  Duffield  Frith. 

In  the  Helper  ward  of  Duffield  Frith  there  was  considerable 
surface  coal  mining ;  on  Dartmoor  and  Exmoor  there  were 
particular  regulations  affecting  the  procuring  of  peat ;  whilst 
in  other  forests  the  quarrying  of  stone  for  building  purposes, 
for  millstones  and  for  tombstones,  as  well  as  the  burning  of 
lime  and  digging  of  marl  were  pursued,  but  in  all  cases  with 
due  regard  for  the  non-disturbance  of  the  deer.  Such  callings 




were  confined  to  particular  sites,  as  far  as  possible  on  the 
fringes  of  the  forest. 

The  following  of  trades  that  were  obviously  detrimental  to 
the  deer,  through  odour  or  otherwise,  such  as  the  tanning  of 
hides,  were  rigorously  prohibited  within  forest  bounds. 

"Purlieu,"  strictly  speaking,  was  all  that  ground  near  any 
forest  which  had  originally  been  forest  by  perambulation  of 
Henry  II.,  Richard  I.,  or  John,  but  had  been  severed  by  the 
Forest  Charter  of  Henry  III.  Round  some  forests  the  purlieus 
were  of  considerable  extent.  As  a  rule,  the  purlieu  man  had 
certain  forest  agistment  and  other  rights,  but  of  considerable 
less  value  than  the  actual  forest  tenant ;  in  return  for  this  he 
was  subject  to  a  modified  form  of  forest  law,  the  chief  of  which 
was  the  non-disturbance  of  deer  that  he  might  find  among  his 
crops.  The  tenants  on  the  outskirts  of  Galtres  forest,  Yorks, 
and  of  Duffield  Frith,  Derbyshire,  were  termed  "bounderers"; 
they  had  certain  privileges  as  well  as  obligations. 

The  purlieu  custom  varied  much  in  different  districts  and 
passed  under  various  local  terms.  Such  were  the  Wynlands, 
or  Wydelands,  of  the  Peak,  and  the  Venville  of  Dartmoor. 
Cran borne  Chase,  which  was  nearly  identical  with  a  forest, 
had  its  well-defined  Inbounds  and  Outbounds.  The  old  name 
of  Out-woods  is  not  infrequently  to  be  found  in  the  vicinity  of 
an  old  forest,  as  at  Duffield,  Clarendon,  and  Kinver  ;  its  use 
denotes  that  the  place  so  called  was  formerly  within  the  forest 
purlieus.  The  forest  of  Clarendon  had  its  Inlodges  and  Out- 


THE  forest  eyre  was  a  court  called  into  being  by  the 
king's  letters  patent,  by  which  justices  were  appointed 
to  hear  and  determine  pleas  of  the  forest  throughout  a 
particular  county  or  groups  of  counties,  or  occasionally  in  the 
special  area  of  a  county  or  counties.  A  short  time  before 
the  eyre  was  held,  letters  close  were  directed  to  the  sheriff 
relative  to  its  business.  By  these  they  were  ordered  to  summon 
(i)  all  dignitaries  and  other  free  tenants  who  had  lands  or 
tenements  within  the  metes  of  the  forest ;  (2)  the  reeve  and 
four  men  from  every  township  within  the  metes  ;  (3)  all 
foresters  and  verderers,  both  those  then  in  office  and  those 
(or  their  heirs)  who  had  held  such  office  since  the  last  pleas 
of  the  forest;  (4)  all  those  persons  who  had  been  "attached" 
since  the  last  pleas ;  (5)  all  the  regarders  ;  (6)  and  all  the 
agisters.  The  sheriffs  were  at  the  same  time  directed  to  see 
that  the  foresters  and  verderers  brought  with  them  all  their 
attachments  or  attachment  rolls  since  the  last  pleas,  and  that 
the  regarders  brought  with  them  their  regards  duly  sealed, 
and  the  agisters  their  agistments. 

The  proper  interval  between  those  forest  eyres  is  supposed, 
from  analogy  of  eyres  for  pleas  of  the  Crown  and  common 
pleas,  to  have  been  seven  years  ;  but  in  practice,  to  the  great 
inconvenience  of  all  concerned,  considering  the  multiplicity 
of  business,  the  intervals  were  usually  much  longer,  and  almost 
wholly  capricious.  For  example,  Derbyshire  affords  more 
than  one  instance  of  intervals  exceeding  thirty  years  ;  whilst 
Pickering  yields  an  instance  of  an  interval  of  over  fifty  years, 
namely,  from  1280-1334. 

Every  three  years  a  thorough  inspection  not  only  of  the 
woods,  but  also  of  every  part  of  the  forest,  was  expected  to  be 



made  ;  this  was  termed  the  Regard.  The  duty  of  the  twelve 
or  more  knights,  who  were  called  the  Regarders,  was  to  draw 
up  answers  to  a  long  set  of  interrogatories  termed  the  Chapter, 
which  covered  almost  every  possible  particular  as  to  the  con- 
dition of  the  forest  demesnes.  But  the  most  important  function 
the  regarders  discharged  was  as  to  the  assarts,  or  enclosures 
of  waste  with  or  without  warrant,  and  to  purprestures,  or 
encroachments  made  by  the  building  of  houses  or  the  like. 
In  practice  the  full  formal  regard,  with  its  complete  roll  of 
answers,  was  usually  only  made  shortly  before  the  holding 
of  each  eyre,  when  the  sheriff  was  ordered  by  the  Crown  to 
see  to  the  regard  being  duly  performed. 

The  amount  of  business  that  had  to  be  transacted  at  these 
eyres  was  very  considerable,  and  usually  involved  repeated 
adjournments.  The  work  would  have  been  still  greater  if 
it  had  not  been  that  a  large  number  of  the  delinquents 
were  naturally  dead  before  ever  the  court  was  held  ;  and 
that  not  a  few  of  the  former  offenders,  who  had  been  re- 
leased on  bail,  had  passed  out  of  the  jurisdiction  of  the  sheriff, 
and  could  not  be  traced.  The  proceedings  of  the  court  were, 
roughly  speaking,  divided  into  two  parts — the  pleas  of  vert 
and  the  pleas  of  venison.  In  both  cases  the  chief  object  of 
the  proceedings  was  the  collection  of  fines  and  amercements 
for  breaches  of  the  forest  laws,  which — contrary  to  the  usual 
opinion — had  little,  if  any,  trace  of  the  old  Norman  severity. 
In  fact,  so  far  was  this  from  being  the  case,  that  if  a  man  was 
determined  to  poach  venison,  he  met  with  far  lighter  punish- 
ment if  the  offence  was  committed  in  a  royal  forest,  than  if  he 
was  dealt  with  by  the  common  or  manorial  law  for  a  like 
offence  in  a  private  park.  The  first  forest  code  (usually  cited 
as  the  Assize  of  Woodstock)  was  extant  in  the  time  of 
Henry  II.  ;  it  records  the  severities  of  his  grandfather,  when 
cruel  mutilation  and  capital  punishment,  irredeemable  by  any 
^  forfeiture,  were  among  the  ordinary  penalties  ;  but  all  this  dis- 
appeared in  the  thirteenth  century. 

The  presence  of  the  reeve  and  four  men  from  each  township 
was  strictly  enforced ;  and  the  fines  for  total  absence,  or  absence 
at  the  opening  of  the  court,  of  these  and  others  who  were 
summoned,  were  rigorously  exacted.  The  consideration  of  the 
essoins,  or  excuses  for  non-attendance,  was  always  the  first 


business  of  the  court.  It  was  also  usual  for  juries  from  the 
different  hundreds  to  be  summoned  ;  but  their  duty,  as  well 
as  that  of  the  men  from  the  townships,  seems  to  have  been 
confined  to  attesting  the  truth  of  any  statements  affecting  their 
districts  which  might  appear  on  the  rolls,  and  to  being  amerced 
for  any  particular  neglect  that  might  be  brought  to  light.  As 
to  any  jury  proper,  at  these  pleas,  for  the  purpose  of  pronounc- 
ing a  verdict  on  the  delinquents,  there  is  no  trace ;  such 
decisions  were  left  entirely  in  the  hands  of  the  justices. 

By  article  nine  of  the  Forest  Charter,  a  man  might  be 
imprisoned  for  a  year  and  a  day  ;  but  in  practice,  so  far  as  the 
eyre  was  concerned,  a  fine  seems  to  have  been  the  invariable 
judgment  of  the  justices.  These  fines  were  so  apportioned 
to  the  position  and  means  of  the  delinquents,  that  they  could, 
as  a  rule,  be  readily  paid  ;  and  there  are  various  instances 
in  which,  after  being  pronounced  "in  mercy,"  they  were 
excused  payment  on  the  ground  of  poverty.  The  sheriff  was 
ordered  to  arrest  those  who  failed  to  appear,  and  sentence  of 
outlawry  was  at  last  pronounced,  after  the  due  number  of 
summons  before  the  county  court.  The  fines  imposed  on 
offending  foresters,  verderers,  or  other  forest  ministers  were 
rightly  of  a  much  heavier  character  than  those  imposed  on 
ordinary  offenders. 

With  regard  to  the  venison  pleas,  the  chief  forester  was  ex- 
pected to  answer  for  all  manner  of  venison  delivered  by 
warrant  or  otherwise  since  the  last  eyre.  Under  these  pleas 
also  came  all  the  presentments  for  illegal  or  supposed  illegal 
venison  trespass  of  every  kind,  including  the  receiving  of 
venison  illicitly  killed,  or  the  harbouring  of  known  offenders. 

The  vert  pleas  dealt  with  all  the  charges  connected  with 
damage  to  timber  or  underwood,  its  felling,  carrying  off,  un- 
lawful sale,  or  misappropriation,  as  well  as  the  grant  of  "fee" 
or  gift  trees.  The  question  of  vert  is  dealt  with  more  in  detail 
in  the  section  on  forest  trees. 

In  addition  to  the  question  of  assarts  and  purprestures, 
another  important  matter  always  brought  before  the  forest 
eyre  was  the  list  of  claims  or  privileges  by  royal  grant  or 
charter,  the  majority  of  which  were  usually  held  by  the 
religious  houses.  Each  case  had  to  be  duly  discussed  and 
sanctioned,  or  refused,  or  curtailed,  at  each  successive  eyre. 


There  was  not  a  single  forest  wherein  several  monasteries 
had  not  particular  privileges  conferred  in  early  days,  and  in 
some  they  were  very  numerous.  Over  the  great  stretch  of 
Peak  Forest,  Derbyshire,  the  abbeys  of  Basingwerk,  Beau- 
chief,  Darley,  Dernhall,  Dieulacres,  Leicester,  Lilleshall, 
Merivale,  Roche,  and  Welbeck,  together  with  the  priories  of 
Kingsmead,  Launde,  and  Lenton,  all  had  rights.  Such  rights 
referred  for  the  most  part  to  the  felling  of  timber  necessary  for 
their  churches  and  buildings,  or  their  farmsteads  and  fences, 
as  well  as  to  the  collecting  of  undergrowth  or  dead  wood  for 
fuel.  The  agistment  of  cattle  at  certain  seasons  and  the 
pannage  of  swine  were  granted  from  time  to  time  ;  whilst 
venison  rights,  more  particularly  in  the  shape  of  a  tythe  of 
the  deer  killed,  pertained  to  some  few  religious  houses.  The 
tythe  of  the  wild  boars  killed  in  Dean  Forest  went  to  the  abbey 
of  St.  Peter's,  Gloucester,  and  the  tythe  of  the  deer  hunted  in 
Pickering  Lythe  was  the  perquisite  of  the  abbey  of  St.  Mary's, 

In  addition  to  the  forest  pleas  proper,  certain  special  inquisi- 
tions as  to  the  condition  of  the  forest  and  the  charges  against 
trespassers  were  held  by  the  local  officials,  but  under  the 
particular  justice  of  the  forest  or  his  deputy.  Such  inquisitions 
were  probably  caused,  in  the  first  instance,  by  the  infrequency 
of  the  eyres.  By  a  tiresome  confusion,  these  courts  of  general 
inquisition  in  latter  days  are  sometimes  termed  swainmotes, 
though  they  differed  as  much  from  the  real  swainmote  as  from 
the  forest  pleas. 

The  swainmote  of  later  times,  about  which  Manwood  is 
somewhat  mistaken,  as  shown  by  Mr.  Turner,  was  practically 
the  same  as  the  attachment  court.  The  two  terms,  "swainmote" 
and  "attachment"  (and  occasionally  "  woodmote  "),  are  used 
interchangeably  in  later  days  in  various  local  proceedings  of 
the  same  forest,  of  which  full  records  remain — as,  for  instance, 
in  Sherwood,  Windsor,  Clarendon,  and  Duffield  Frith.  At  one 
and  the  same  time  in  the  fifteenth  century,  local  courts  of  a  like 
character  were  being  held  in  the  forests  of  Windsor  and 
Northants  under  the  style  of  swainmotes,  in  Lancashire  and 
Sherwood  as  attachment  courts,  and  in  Staffordshire  and 
Derbyshire  as  woodmotes.  These  courts  of  attachment,  if 
regularly  kept,  as  ordered  by  the  Forest  Charter,  met  every 


forty-two  days  in  each  of  the  several  bailiwicks  or  wards  into 
which  a  forest  was  divided,  but  on  different  days  of  the  week. 
Thus,  at  Sherwood  Forest  these  courts  were  held  at  Linby, 
Calverton,  Mansfield,  and  Edwinstowe  on  Monday,  Wednesday, 
Thursday,  and  Friday  respectively  in  every  sixth  week  ;  though 
not  infrequently  they  had  to  adjourn  for  lack  of  any  business 
to  transact. 

The  true  swainmote,  according  to  Henry  III.'s  Charter,  was 
only  to  be  held  three  times  a  year,  namely,  fifteen  days  before 
Midsummer,  when  the  agisters  met  to  see  to  the  observance 
of  the  fence  month  ;  fifteen  days  before  Michaelmas,  when  the 
agistment  of  the  woods  began  ;  and  at  Martinmas,  when  the 
agisters  met  to  receive  the  pannage.  But,  as  has  been  re- 
marked, the  name  swainmote  (the  court  of  the  free-forest  tenant 
of  Saxon  origin)  became  in  later  times  a  usual  alias  for  the 
attachment  court. 

The  Attachment,  or  Forty-day  Court,  as  it  was  sometimes 
termed,  was  so  called  because  its  object  was  to  receive  the 
attachment  of  the  foresters  or  woodwards,  and  to  enter  them  on 
the  verderers'  rolls.  The  legal  term  "attachment"  (differing 
from  "arrest,"  which  only  applied  to  the  body)  had  a  threefold 
operation  in  the  forest  as  at  common  law  ;  a  man  might  be 
attached  by  (i)  his  goods  and  chattels,  or  (2)  by  pledges  and 
mainprize,  or  (3)  by  his  body.  The  usual  proceeding  was  that 
if  the  foresters  found  a  man  trespassing  on  the  vert  they  might 
attach  him  by  his  body,  and  cause  him  to  find  two  pledges  (or 
bail)  to  appear  at  the  next  attachment  court.  On  his  appear- 
ance at  that  court  he  was  mainprized  (that  is,  set  at  liberty 
under  bail)  until  the  next  eyre  of  the  justices.  If  offending  for 
a  second  time,  four  pledges  were  held  necessary ;  if  a  third 
time,  eight  pledges  ;  and  for  a  fourth  time,  imprisonment  until 
the  eyre. 

If,  however,  a  man  was  taken  killing  the  deer  or  carrying 
them  away — which  was  called  being  taken  with  the  manner,  or 
mainour,  an  overt  sign  such  as  blood  on  the  hands  or  clothes — 
he  could  be  attached  at  once  by  his  body,  and  imprisoned 
until  delivered  on  bail  by  the  king,  or  the  justice  of  the 
particular  forest,  to  appear  at  the  next  eyre. 

Those  who  lived  in  the  forest,  and  were  taken  in  the  king's 
demesnes  cutting  green  wood  or  saplings,  or  even  gathering 


PC  Jclrnc  .ffcS*  Sc  <M!mf!1(»p"  .u  no  fiin 

fr-        P  1         i-  f«t-L.    • 

!VWo  gobcr  be  fStn^lcr  tt-1  ti|)rf  bnof.itl-Jr  ^.f^ 



dry  wood  from  oaks,  hazels,  or  other  trees,  could  be  amerced  in 
the  attachment  court,  unless  the  damage  they  had  done  was 
appraised  at  more  than  4^.,  in  which  case  the  delinquent  was 
to  be  attached  to  answer  for  his  offence  at  the  next  eyre. 
Questions  of  the  escape  of  cattle  or  sheep,  and  any  breach  of 
the  particular  agistment  pannage  regulations  for  the  swine, 
were  also  dealt  with  by  this  court.  When  the  trespasser  was 
not  a  dweller  in  the  forest,  the  forester  or  woodward,  even  in 
a  vert  case,  was  expected  to  attach  his  body  and  take  him  to 
prison  (each  forest  had  its  own  prison  for  forest  offences),  from 
which  he  could  be  released  only  by  the  order  of  the  king,  or  the 
justice  of  the  forest.  In  the  matter  of  venison,  these  lesser 
courts  had  not  originally  any  jurisdiction  ;  but  in  later  times 
pledges  were  often  taken  for  the  appearance  of  such  trespassers 
at  the  eyre. 

In  addition  to  the  general  forest  inquisition,  there  were  also 
special  inquisitions  dealing  with  venison  trespasses  held  under 
the  bailiff  of  the  forest  in  conjunction  with  the  foresters  and 
verderers.  Several  of  these  are  extant  of  the  thirteenth  century. 
One  of  the  most  interesting  rules  of  these  special  cases  pro- 
vided that  if  any  beast  of  the  forest  was  found  dead  or  wounded, 
an  inquest  was  to  be  held  by  the  four  neighbouring  townships 
of  the  forest.  The  finder  of  the  deer  was  to  obtain  pledges  for 
his  subsequent  appearance  ;  the  flesh  was  to  be  sent  to  the 
nearest  lazar-house,  or  given  to  the  local  sick  and  poor  if  there 
was  not  one  within  reasonable  distance  ;  the  head  and  skin 
were  to  be  given  to  the  freeman  of  the  township  where  it  was 
found  ;  and  the  arrow  or  other  weapon  to  the  verderer,  who 
had  to  keep  it  for  production  at  the  next  eyre. 

Inquests  were  also  held  by  the  four  neighbouring  townships 
in  cases  of  definite  forest  trespass  ;  and  the  bows,  arrows,  or 
snares  found  upon  a  trespasser  had  to  be  delivered  to  the 
verderer  for  future  production.  Owing  to  such  inquests  being 
sometimes  held  at  the  same  time  as  the  gathering  of  a  swain- 
mote,  the  rolls  of  these  local  courts,  if  carelessly  consulted, 
appear  to  be  dealing  with  venison  trespass  when  such  was  not 
the  case. 

It  must  be  remembered  that  these  forest  inquisitions  were 
only  necessary  when  a  beast  of  the  forest  was  dead  or  wounded, 
or  when  an  actual  trespass  had  been  committed  in  the  forest. 

The  forest  pleas  or  eyres  were  usually  held  in  the  county 
town,  but  occasionally  those  summoned  had  to  appear  in 
another  county.  This  was  the  case  with  the  delinquents  and 
officials  of  Duffield  Frith  ;  that  forest  was  in  the  honor  of 
Tutbury,  and  the  pleas  were  held  at  that  Staffordshire  town. 
Now  and  again  a  special  booth  or  tent  was  erected  to  accommo- 
date the  justices,  as  was  the  case  in  part  of  Rockingham  forest 
in  the  sixteenth  century. 

The  swainmotes  sometimes  assembled  in  the  open  air,  but 
far  oftener  in  the  respective  lodges  of  the  different  wards,  as  in 
Needwood  and  Sherwood  forests.  Charges  for  the  repairs  of 
the  lodges  are  of  frequent  occurrence  in  forest  accounts.  There 
was  generally  a  central  court-house  or  justice  seat  where  special 
inquisitions  were  held,  with  accommodation  if  required  for  the 
keeper  or  chief  forester,  and  with  a  chapel  annexed,  as  in  the 
New  Forest  and  the  Forest  of  the  Peak.  There  is  a  Lancashire 
instance  of  a  swainmote  being  held  in  a  chapel. 



THE  chief  local  authority  over  a  forest  was   the   keeper 
or  warden,  who  was  also  variously  known  as  a  steward, 

bailiff,  and  chief  or  master  forester.  In  no  two  forests 
were  the  terms  for  the  various  ministers 
exactly  similar,  and  the  nomenclature  often 
varied  for  the  same  forest  at  different  periods. 
Certain  forests,  such  as  those  of  Cheshire, 
were  ruled  by  hereditary  wardens  or  keepers ; 
but  they  were  more  usually  appointed  by  the 
Crown,  during  pleasure,  under  letters  patent. 
This  office  was  often  held  in  conjunction  with 
that  of  keeper  of  the  forest  castle,  as  was  the 
case  with  the  Peak  Forest.  Writs  relative  to 
the  administration  of  the  forest  business  were 
addressed  to  this  chief  keeper,  as  well  as 
orders  for  the  delivery  of  venison  or  wood. 

For  the  most  part  he  was  expected  to  pre- 
side personally,  or  through  his  deputy  or 
lieutenant,  at  the  local  courts.  He  had  con- 
siderable perquisites  and  privileges,  and  was 
generally  allowed  to  distribute  a  certain 
amount  of  venison  to  the  county  gentlemen 
of  the  district  without  direct  warrant. 

The  verderers  were  forest  officers  directly 
responsible  to  the  Crown,  although,  like 
coroners,  they  were  elected  by  the  free-holders 
in  the  county  court  on  writ  addressed  to  the 
sheriff.  The  appointment  was  considered  to 
be  one  for  life  ;  but  any  verderer  could  be 
removed  by  the  Crown  for  incapacity,  or  for 

C  17 


Bakewell,  Derbyshire 


lack  of  due  property  qualification  within  the  forest.  The 
verderers  were  always  men  of  some  position,  and  frequently 
knights ;  they  had  no  salary,  and  perquisites  of  any  kind 
were  the  exception.  They  varied  in  number ;  in  the  smaller 
forests  there  were  only  two ;  four  seems  to  have  been  the 
average,  but  in  Sherwood  there  were  six.  It  was  the  verderer's 


Chelmorton,  Derbyshire 


Wirksworth,  Derbyshire 

duty  to  view,  receive,  and  enroll  all  manner  of  attachments 
for  vert  or  venison  trespass  ;  and  he  had  to  attend  all  forest 
courts  and  take  the  leading  part  under  the  steward  or  keeper 
at  the  swainmotes.  In  the  swainmotes,  the  verderers  were  the 
judges  in  all  vert  cases  of  the  value  of  2cl.  or  under ;  this  was 
afterwards  raised  to  4^. 

The   verderer's   symbol   of   office  was   an   axe.     In    several 
forests,  as  in  Duffield,  there  was  a  chief  verderer,  styled  the 


axe-bearer,  appointed  directly  by  the  Crown,  and  the  recipient 
of  certain  perquisites. 

Foresters  were  officers  sworn  to  preserve  the  vert  and  venison 
in  their  own  divisions,  or  walks,  or  wards,  which  were  some- 
times termed  bailiwicks.  They  had  to  "attach"  offenders,  and 


Bakewell,  Derbyshire 

}  cnrt.ii 


Hope,  Derbyshire 

present  them  at  the  forest  courts.  If  they  found  any  man  in 
the  forest  with  bows  and  arrows,  snares  or  dogs,  they  might 
arrest  and  imprison  him  as  if  they  had  actually  seen  him  hunt 
or  kill  the  deer.  They  had  to  take  special  care  of  the  deer 
during  the  fence  or  close  month,  i.e.  the  fortnight  before  and 
after  Midsummer  Day,  when  the  fawns  were  usually  dropped, 
and  to  provide  them  with  deer-browse  or  tree-clippings  in  the 


winter.  They  might  not  hunt  themselves,  or  even  carry  a  bow, 
save  under  warrant  or  direct  order  of  the  keeper,  or  when 
training  the  young  dogs  according  to  custom.  Foresters  had 
always  certain  rights  of  pasturage  and  pannage,  and  usually 
one  or  two  deer  and  one  or  two  trees  during  the  year.  The 
working  forester  was  generally  also  paid  so  much  the  day, 
always  reckoning  seven  days  to  the  week,  as  he  was  supposed 
to  be  ever  on  duty. 

The  foresters  of  Clarendon,  Wilts,  eight  in  number,  received 
2d.  a  day  each,  at  the  rate  of  365  days  to  the  year,  includ- 
ing all  Sundays  and  holy  days.  This  rate  of  payment  is 
mentioned  in  1360,  and  it  remained  the  same  in  1483.  Two- 
pence a  day  was  also  the  usual  wage  of  the  Pickering  foresters. 
Occasionally  foresters  were  appointed  by  letters  patent  of  the 
Crown  ;  this  was  the  case  with  some  of  the  Sherwood  foresters, 
temp.  Edward  IV.,  who  received  4^.  a  day,  and  were  allowed 
to  act  by  deputy. 

There  was  often  a  general  or  itinerant  forester  for  the  whole 
area,  who  had  a  higher  rate  of  pay,  and,  as  he  was  mounted, 
was  frequently  called  the  riding  forester.  Sometimes  the 
Crown  appointed  several  such  foresters,  as  did  Edward  I.  for 
Peak  Forest  at  the  beginning  of  his  reign,  calling  them 
forestarii  equitii.  In  the  next  century  there  is  record  of  the 
Crown  appointment  of  a  chief  forester  for  the  same  district  at 
the  very  high  wage  of  i2d.  a  day.  Such  an  officer  as  this 
was,  at  a  later  period,  known  in  various  forests  under  the 
name  of  bow-bearer,  from  having  the  right  always  to  carry 
a  bow,  personally  or  at  the  hands  of  his  attendant.  To  this 
office  special  perquisites  were  usually  attached,  and  eventually 
the  duties  were  almost  entirely  honorary,  save  that  he  had  to 
wait  upon  the  king,  and  regulate  the  royal  hunting,  when  he 
came  to  a  particular  forest. 

Strictly  speaking,  the  symbol  of  a  royal  or  chief  forester 
was  a  bow,  whereas  that  of  the  ordinary  forester  was  a  horn. 

In  several  of  the  larger  forests,  such  as  those  of  Lancashire, 
Cheshire,  Dean,  Sherwood,  and  Pickering,  there  were  here- 
ditary foresters-of-fee.  In  the  Peak  Forest,  when  the  question 
of  their  origin  came  up  at  forest  pleas,  they  always  claimed 
to  date  back  to  the  days  of  William  Peverel.  There  were 
originally  four  (though  afterwards  subdivided)  for  each  of  the 



three  great  bailiwicks  of  the  Peak  Forest,  who  held  certain 
bovates  of  land  in  serjeanty,  discharging  their  obligations  in 
one  case  by  hunting  wolves,  and  in  the  others  by  some  amount 
of  forest  supervision.  In  two  of  the  three  bailiwicks  they  had 
sworn  servants  or  grooms  under  them.  This  kind  of  forester- 
ship  could  be  held  by  women  and  by  clerks,  but  the  duties  had 
then  to  be  discharged  by  deputy.  The  foresters-of-fee  were 

as  Jiiiah  vi 


Hope,  Derbyshire 



Papplewick,  Notts 

bound  to  attend  all  courts,  even  the  frequent  swainmotes  of 
their  bailiwick,  in  person  or  by  authorised  sworn  deputy. 

There  were  usually  special  perquisites  at  the  time  of  holding 
an  eyre.  Thus  the  justices  in  eyre  in  1488  assigned  to  the 
forester  of  Windsor  a  beech  and  a  small  oak,  and  to  the 
forester  of  the  baily  of  Basilles  an  oak  and  a  buck. 

In  the  earlier  forest  days,  foresters  appear  to  have  been 
frequently  quartered,  in  whole  or  in  part,  on  the  tenants  within 


the  bounds.  Hence,  long  after  definite  wages  had  become 
customary,  attempts  were  made  to  maintain  these  boarding 
arrangements.  These  wages  in  kind  for  themselves,  their 
horses,  and  their  dogs,  were  termed  picture,  or  putre.  A  case 
occurs  in  the  Year  Book  of  Edward  III.  of  a  claim  of  this 
kind  made  by  a  forester  of  Inglewood  against  the  abbot  of 
St.  Mary's,  York.  He  claimed  food  and  drink  at  the  table  of 
the  abbot's  servants  on  every  Friday,  together  with  the  right 
to  carry  away,  whenever  he  pleased,  a  flagon  of  the  best  ale, 
two  tallow  candles,  a  bushel  of  oats  for  his  horse,  and  a  loaf 
of  black  bread  for  his  dog. 

Special  provision  was  made  against  this  levying  of  payment 
in  kind  by  the  foresters  or  their  servants,  in  the  Forest  Charter 
of  1217.  A  statute  of  25  Edward  III.  also  strictly  forbade 
4 'the  gatheringe  of  vitailes  nor  other  thing  by  colour  of  their 
office  against  anye  man's  wil  within  their  bayliwick"  by  all 
forest  ministers,  but  at  the  same  time  left  a  loophole  for  its 
continuance  by  exempting  that  which  was  "due  of  olde  right." 
Future  disputes  were  a  special  grievance  in  the  Lancashire 
forests,  where  this  charge  on  the  tenants  became  commuted  for 
a  money  payment. 

The  drink  money  of  the  Dartmoor  foresters  went  by  the 
name  of  poutura  in  the  thirteenth  century. 

The  position  of  the  woodward  of  a  forest,  as  distinguished 
from  a  forester,  is  often  misunderstood.  The  woodward, 
though  primarily  responsible  for  the  actual  timber  or  under- 
wood, as  the  name  implies,  was  also,  as  a  rule,  a  forester — 
that  is,  he  was  at  the  same  time  responsible  for  the  venison. 
To  understand  their  position,  it  must  be  remembered  that  all 
the  lands  within  a  king's  forest  were  never  entirely  demesne. 
In  every  forest  there  were  various  woods  which  were  private 
property  ;  but  they  were  subject  to  general  forest  jurisdiction, 
such  as  the  free  ingress  and  egress  of  the  king's  game.  Nor 
could  the  owners,  without  the  king's  licence,  do  anything 
therein,  such  as  clearing  away  growing  timber  for  cultivation, 
building  houses  or  sheds,  establishing  forges,  or  burning  char- 
coal, that  might  be  held  to  do  damage  or  cause  annoyance 
to  the  deer.  To  look  after  their  rights,  such  wood  owners 
were  allowed,  nay,  were  required,  to  have  officials  termed  wood- 
wards to  guard  the  king's  venison,  and  therefore  they  were 


not  allowed  to  act  save  as  sworn  servants,  taking  oath  to  serve 
the  king  in  the  matter  of  venison,  and  having  power  to  attach 
and  present. 

The  symbol  of  the  woodward  was  a  small  hatchet  or  bill- 

In  later  forest  days  a  kind  of  chief  woodward  was  sometimes 
termed  the  axe-bearer ;  and  we  find  a  "  sealing  axe  "  mentioned 

J-c  W*// 





Papplewick,  Notts 

in    later   forest   accounts   of   Wiltshire,    Worcestershire,    and 
Yorkshire,  which  was  used  for  blazoning  timber  intended  to 
•     be  felled. 

Agisters  were  the  officers  who  were  chiefly  concerned  with 
the  collection  of  money  for  the  agistment  or  feeding  of  cattle 
and  pigs  in  the  demesne  woods  or  lands  of  the  forest.  Beasts 
of  the  plough  (for  the  most  part  oxen,  but  occasionally  an 
inferior  breed  of  horse)  were  generally  allowed  such  agistment 


under  certain  restrictions;  and  pigs,  from  nth  September  to 
nth  November.  But  each  forest  had  its  own  peculiarities. 
Horse-breeding  establishments,  or  stud  farms,  were  an  early 
institution  in  Peak  Forest ;  whilst  cattle  were  the  predominating 
feature  of  Dartmoor.  Sheep  were  usually  specially  restricted. 
Goats  were  at  all  times  peculiarly  disliked  by  deer,  and  very 
rarely  permitted.  As  a  rule,  agisters  were  expected  to  report 
to  the  verderers,  or  direct  to  the  swainmote,  cases  of  illegal 
agistment,  or  of  escapes  of  animals  into  the  forest. 

Rangers  were  officials  that  are  not  heard  of  till  towards  the 
end  of  the  fourteenth  century ;  their  duties  were  originally 
confined  to  seeing  that  forest  law  was  duly  observed  in  the 
outlands  or  purlieus  of  the  forest.  Their  office  corresponded 
in  some  respects  with  that  of  the  mounted  forester. 

The  regarders  were  responsible  for  the  regard  or  survey  of 
the  forest,  which  has  been  already  explained.  Less  than  twelve 
could  not  make  a  certificate  of  their  "view,"  so  more  than  that 
number  were  generally  appointed.  When  making  their  regard, 
they  were  to  require  the  presence  with  them  of  the  foresters 
and  woodwards.  The  regarders,  or  some  of  them,  were  ex- 
pected to  be  present  at  every  removing  swainmote. 

Another  class  of  officers,  of  which  there  are  many  in  such 
forests  as  Duffield,  were  the  parkers  or  keepers  of  the  different 
parks.  They  not  infrequently  had  under  them  palers,  palesters, 
or  palifers,  who  were  permanently  employed  to  maintain  the 
pale  fences  of  the  parks. 


MANWOOD'S  Treatise  on  the  Forest  Laws,  the  first 
edition  of  which  appeared  in  1598,  has  usually  been 
accepted,  without  demur,  as  giving  indisputable  details 
about  the  forests  of  England.  Mr.  Turner  has,  however, 
rightly  pointed  out  in  his  recent  volume,  Select  Pleas  of  the 
Forest,  that  Manwood,  writing  at  the  end  of  the  Elizabethan 
period,  when  forest  law  had  for  the  most  part  decayed,  is 
by  no  means  altogether  reliable,  particularly  in  those  parts 
that  treat  of  what  constituted  beasts  of  the  forest  and  beasts 
of  the  chase.  In  such  particulars  Manwood  seems  to  have 
relied  on  foreign  rather  than  English  treatises  on  hunting, 
a  fault  in  which  he  has  been  imitated  by  more  than  one  modern 
writer,  and  also  to  have  confused  methods  of  hunting  with 
forest  legislation. 

Manwood  declared  that  there  were  five  beasts  of  the  forest — 
the  hart,  the  hind,  the  hare,  the  wild  boar,  and  the  wolf ;  but 
this  in  reality  only  makes  four,  for  the  hart  and  the  hind  are 
the  male  and  female  of  the  red  deer.  He  then  made  a  second 
division,  termed  the  beasts  of  the  chase,  which  included  the 
buck  and  the  doe  (the  male  and  female  of  the  fallow  deer), 
the  fox,  the  martin,  and  the  roe.  The  law,  however,  made  no 
distinction  of  this  kind  between  the  red  and  fallow  deer ;  both 
of  them  were  distinctly  beasts  of  the  forest,  in  any  legal  or 
customary  significance  of  that  term. 

The  truth  as  to  the  English  beasts  of  the  forest,  or  king's 
game,  all  of  which  originally  came  under  the  head  of  venison, 
can  only  be  ascertained  by  a  study  of  the  eyre  rolls  and  other 
original  forest  proceedings.  It  then  becomes  clear  that  the 
forest  beasts  numbered  four — the  red  deer,  the  fallow  deer, 
the  roe,  and  the  wild  boar. 



The  hare  has  no  business  to  be  found  in  such  a  list,  save 
in  the  single  warren  of  Somerton,  within  the  bounds  of  the 
Somersetshire  forest  of  that  name.  In  no  other  place  is  the 
hare  known  to  have  been  preserved  by  forest  laws. 

Again,  the  inclusion  by  Manwood  of  the  wolf  among  the 
beasts  of  the  forest  is  absolutely  without  warrant. 

As  to  beasts  of  the  chase,  a  term  without  any  legal  signifi- 
cance, it  may  be  held  to  include,  in  addition  to  the  deer,  the 
wolf,  the  boar,  the  hare,  the  fox,  and  other  vermin,  such  as  the 
wild  cat,  martin,  badger,  otter,  and  even  in  some  cases  the 
squirrel.  All  that  can  be  meant  by  this  term  is,  that  these 
animals  were  chased  and  hunted,  though  after  very  different 

In  charters  of  warren,  a  term  already  briefly  discussed,  the 
hare  was  the  principal  beast.  A  decision  of  1338  placed  the 
roe  among  the  beasts  of  the  warren  ;  but  it  was  not  a  decision 
of  universal  application.  The  fox,  and  more  especially  the 
coney  or  rabbit,  were  also  regarded  as  beasts  of  the  warren — 
that  is  noxious  beasts  which  were  hunted  or  killed,  but  not 

As  to  fowls  of  warren,  they  certainly  could  not  be  held  to  be 
noxious.  They  included  the  pheasant,  the  partridge,  and  the 
woodcock,  as  well  as,  in  certain  cases,  such  birds  as  the  plover, 
and  even  the  lark,  the  capture  of  which  was  held  to  be  a 
warren  trespass.  Mr.  Turner  considers  that  it  is  probable  that 
all  birds,  taken  by  snares  or  hawks  within  a  warren,  were  held 
to  be  fowls  of  the  warren,  and  that  their  capture  constituted 
a  legal  trespass. 

The  one  bird  that  has  some  claim  to  be  considered  a  "fowl 
of  the  forest "  is  the  swan. 

The  RED  DEER  (cervus  elap/ias),  the  largest  of  the  British 
deer,  was  the  chief  beast  of  the  forest,  and  remained  so  for 
a  long  period  in  all  the  wilder  districts,  such  as  Dartmoor, 
Exmoor,  the  Peak  Forest,  Sherwood,  and  the  uplands  of 

The  FALLOW  DEER  (dama  vulgaris),  introduced  at  an  early 
date  into  Britain,  was  more  commonly  sheltered  in  parks  within 
forest  bounds.  In  a  few  cases  both  red  and  fallow  deer  were 
found  in  the  same  forest  outside  parks  ;  whilst  other  forests 
only  sheltered  one  species.  Thus  in  Derbyshire,  down  to  the 

O    " 



time  of  their  disafforestation  in  the  seventeenth  century,  only 
red  deer  were  found  in  the  Peak  Forest,  and  only  fallow  deer  in 
Duffield  Frith.  In  the  fifteenth  century,  the  fallow  deer  were  far 
the  most  numerous  in  the  forests  of  Essex,  Northampton, 
Wiltshire,  Hampshire,  and  Dorset ;  the  proportions  at  later 
dates  are  given  in  a  subsequent  section. 

The  different  names  applied  to  both  these  species  at  different 
ages  of  their  growth  are  not  a  little  confusing,  and  vary  some- 
what from  forest  to  forest.  The  following  table  of  terms, 
denoting  the  age  and  sex  of  the  red  and  fallow  deer  respec- 
tively, somewhat  altered  from  a  table  given  by  Mr.  Turton 
in  his  account  of  Pickering  forest,  will  be  found  useful  : — 










hind  calf 



•vitulus  cervi 

vitulus  bisse 




brocket  or 

hyrsel  or 
hyrsula  or 






spardus  or 
sorellus  cer-vi 

staggartus  or 

bissa  or  cerva 


soar,  sore 



sourus  cervi 



damns  or 
dania  m. 

great  buck 


great  hart 


"  Feton  "  (feta)  is  the  term  frequently  used  to  signify  a  fawn, 
usually  of  the  red  deer,  in  the  earlier  forest  pleas  and  accounts. 
It  occurs  several  times  in  forest  proceedings  of  the  High  Peak. 
The  author  of  the  Feudal  History  of  Derbyshire  makes  the 
amusing  mistake  of  reading  it  .reton,  and  expends  much 
learning  on  the  derivation  of  such  a  term  ! 

The  term  raskall  or  raskell  occurs  in  various  later  forest 
accounts.  It  usually  means  deer  out  of  condition,  fit  neither 
to  hunt  nor  kill  ;  but  is  occasionally  used  (as  in  Rutland 
accounts)  to  denote  female  deer. 

"Murrain"  was  the  generic  term  in  mediaeval  England,  for 
almost  every  form  of  disease  that  affected  cattle  as  well  as 
deer.  From  the  records  that  are  extant  in  various  forest 
proceedings  of  the  deaths  of  deer  from  murrain,  it  is  clear 
that  sometimes  this  term  was  used  to  denote  a  severe  form 
of  infectious  illness  that  caused  great  ravages  among  the 
herds  ;  whilst  at  other  times,  when  only  two  or  three  die  in  the 
year  from  murrain,  it  would  seem  to  be  of  the  nature  of  some 
ordinary  ailment.  As  a  rule,  the  foresters  were  expected  to 
hang  up  on  the  trees  of  the  forest  the  carcases  of  those  deer 
that  had  died  of  the  murrain,  and  always  to  keep  a  strict  record 
of  those  that  thus  perished.  On  several  occasions  there  are 
instances  of  foresters  being  presented  and  fined,  for  skinning 
and  taking  the  hides  of  those  that  had  died  of  disease. 

At  a  later  period,  as  in  Duffield  Frith,  the  foresters  were 
ordered  to  take  the  more  sanitary  course  of  burning  the  car- 
cases. From  a  manuscript  book,  dealing  with  the  perambula- 
tions and  pleas  of  Sherwood,  in  the  reigns  of  Henry  III.- 
Edward  III.,  it  appears  that  the  vast  number  of  350  head  of 
deer  (both  red  and  fallow)  had  fallen  victims  to  the  murrain  in 
the  year  1286. 

The  full  records  of  the  Pickering  eyre  of  1334  give  details  as 
to  the  deer  and  murrain  during  each  successive  keepership 
since  the  last  eyre  in  1280.  During  the  keepership  of  Richard 
Skelton  upwards  of  500  died  of  murrain.  The  murrain  was 
severe  in  the  forest  of  Rockingham  during  the  reigns  of 
Henry  VI.,  Edward  IV.,  and  Richard  III.,  particularly  in 
certain  years;  1,400  head  of  game  died  of  disease  during  the 
whole  period.  In  the  first  five  years  of  Henry  VII.  the  deaths 
from  murrain  amounted  to  282.  In  the  first  year  of  Henry  VII., 

THE    BEASTS   OF   THE    FOREST          29 

80  fallow  deer  died  of  murrain  in  the  Wiltshire  forests  of 
Melksham  and  Pewsham,  namely,  27  bucks,  33  does,  and 
20  fawns  ;  but  in  the  second  year  of  his  reign  the  far  greater 
number  of  340  perished,  and  in  the  third  year  140.  In  1489, 
and  again  in  1493,  an  unusual  number  of  both  red  and  fallow 
deer  were  found  "  dede  of  murrayn  in  Epping  forest."  The 
most  appalling  case  is  that  of  Clarendon  forest,  in  1470,  when 
2,209  died  of  murrain  in  the  one  year. 

The  ROE  DEER  were  the  most  graceful  and  the  smallest  of 
British  cervidce,  a  fully  grown  buck  only  standing  twenty-six 
inches  high  at  the  shoulder.  It  must  have  been  quite  common 
— at  all  events  in  the  south  of  England — in  early  days,  as  is 
proved  by  the  scientific  series  of  explorations  carried  out  by  the 
late  General  Pitt-Rivers  in  the  Romano-British  villages  round 
Rushmore,  Wilts.  The  roe  or  roebuck  is  mentioned  in  forest 
proceedings  under  the  interchangeable  terms  of  capriolus  or 
cheverellus,  the  latter  being  Latinised  from  the  French  chevreuil. 
A  roe  killed  in  1251  in  Rockingham  forest  is  entered,  as  Mr. 
Turner  points  out,  as  cheverellus  in  the  forest  inquisition,  and 
as  capriolus  in  the  corresponding  eyre  roll.  The  writer  of  the 
Feudal  History  of  Derbyshire  has  made  nonsense  of  the 
various  forest  presentments  for  the  killing  of  roebucks  in  the 
Peak,  by  translating  capriolus  "wild-goat."  The  killing  of 
a  wild-goat  in  this  forest  would  have  been  a  work  of  merit,  and 
certainly  not  deserving  presentment. 

In  the  full  records  of  the  Derbyshire  eyre  for  the  Peak  of 
1251,  the  killing  of  a  roebuck  is  presented,  and  at  the  next 
eyre,  1286,  five  such  cases  are  recorded.  These  Derbyshire 
instances  help  to  clear  up  a  matter  of  some  importance  in  the 
history  of  England's  forests.  In  the  thirteenth  century  there 
is  no  doubt  that  there  were  in  general  four,  and  only  four, 
beasts  of  the  forest ;  these  were  the  red  deer,  the  fallow  deer, 
the  roe  deer,  and  the  wild  boar.  In  a  charter  of  1212,  King 
John  granted  to  the  monks  of  Lenton  the  tithe  of  all  his 
venison  taken  in  Derbyshire  and  Nottinghamshire.  The  word 
"  venison  "  (venacio}  was  applied  in  mediaeval  days  to  the  beasts 
of  the  forest,  and  is  in  this  case  defined  as  the  red  deer,  fallow 
deer,  and  wild  boar.  From  this  it  has  been  supposed  that  the 
roe  was  not  considered  as  a  beast  of  the  forest  in  all  counties. 
Mr.  Turner,  in  his  valuable  work  on  Forest  Pleas,  commenting 


on  this,  says  :  "  It  is  unfortunate  that  no  documents  still 
exist  which  relate  to  the  forests  in  Nottingham  and  Derby  in 
the  reign  of  Henry  III.  or  his  predecessors,"  and  adds  that 
a  roe  occurs  in  the  Nottingham  forest  eyre  of  15  Edw.  I., 
but  that  as  this  is  a  single  case,  the  great  rarity  of  the  roe  in 
these  counties  may  be  inferred.  The  instances  here  adduced 
show  that  this  is  a  mistake. 

At  the  eyre  for  Pickering  forest,  Yorks,  in  1338,  the 
question  as  to  whether  the  roe  was  a  true  beast  of  the  forest 
arose,  and  the  justices  in  eyre  referred  the  question  to  the  court 
of  King's  Bench,  when  it  was  decided  (contrary  to  previous 
decisions)  that  it  was  a  beast  of  the  warren,  for  the  curious 
reason  that  it  put  to  flight  other  deer.  It  has  been  supposed 
that  from  that  date  the  roe  ceased  to  be  a  beast  of  the  forest 
throughout  England.  But  that  decision  was  either  not  gene- 
rally known,  or  applied  only  to  the  peculiar  case  relative  to  the 
manor  of  Seamer.  In  1398  a  case  was  presented  at  a  swain- 
mote  held  at  Tideswell,  Derbyshire,  of  a  venison  trespasser 
killing  a  roebuck  and  a  fallow  doe.  As  late  as  7  Henry  VII.  a 
charge  of  taking  a  roe  deer  in  a  snare  in  Clarendon  forest  was 
preferred  against  an  offender,  at  the  eyre  held  at  Salisbury. 

There  are  many  interesting  particulars  relative  to  the  roe 
deer  in  the  records  of  Pickering  forest.  Edward  II.,  in  1322, 
paid  the  large  sum  of  £$  for  cord  to  make  nets  to  catch  roe- 
buck. This  expenditure  on  cord  would  not  be  for  the  purpose 
of  making  small  snares,  but  to  aid  in  the  construction  of  a 
buckstall  into  which  the  deer  would  be  driven.  Henry,  Lord 
Percy,  claimed,  in  1338,  to  hunt  and  take  fox,  roe  deer,  cat, 
and  badger  on  his  manor  of  Seamer,  although  within  the 
forest.  The  jury  found  that  Lord  Percy  and  all  his  ancestors 
had  hunted  and  taken  roe  deer,  but  that  that  animal  was  a 
beast  of  the  forest,  for  which  offence  poachers  had  been  con- 
victed and  fined  at  the  last  eyre.  The  justices  referred  this 
point  to  the  judgment  of  King's  Bench,  with  the  result  already 

The  few  cases  of  venison  trespass  that  are  extant  with  regard 
to  the  forest  of  Exmoor,  prove  that  it  possessed  both  red  deer 
and  roebuck.  Presentments  for  killing  roe  deer  are  also  extant 
in  the  case  of  the  Forest  of  Dean  and  several  others. 

The  WILD  BOAR. — The  wild  boar  is  one  of  the  oldest  and 


•y&       "C^*^  ^N/W       '£•-•;>'      i 
TrvvV?  *»  «^        S 4*  .*i 



THE    BEASTS   OF   THE    FOREST          31 

most  renowned  of  the  animals  of  the  British  forests.  It  appears 
on  ancient  British  coinage,  on  various  works  of  art  of  the  later 
Celtic  period,  on  Romano-British  altars,  and  with  frequency 
on  Norman  ecclesiastical  sculpture.  The  chroniclers  tell  us 
that  boar-hunting  was  a  favourite  sport  of  Henry  I.  Pickering 
forest  had  great  repute  for  its  wild  boars  at  the  beginning  of  the 
thirteenth  century.  King  John,  in  1214,  ordered  the  constable 
of  the  castle  on  two  occasions  to  render  assistance  to  the  royal 
huntsman,  who  was  coming  with  his  hounds  to  kill  wild  boar  in 
that  forest.  The  boars  were  to  be  sought  in  that  part  of  the 
forest  where  the  king  was  wont  to  hunt  them.  The  constable 
was  to  see  that  the  meat  was  well  salted,  and  the  heads  soaked 
in  wine  and  dispatched  to  the  king.  In  1227,  Henry  dis- 
patched his  huntsman  to  Pickering  to  take  twelve  wild  swine 
for  the  royal  use. 

King  John's  anxiety  about  the  preservation  of  this  beast  of 
the  forest  lasted  to  the  end  of  his  life.  In  September,  1216,  he 
wrote  to  the  constable  of  St.  Briavel  ordering  that  the  cattle  were 
only  to  be  agisted  on  the  fringes  of  Dean  forest,  and  not  in 
the  forest  itself,  and  particularly  not  in  those  places  frequented 
by  the  wild  boars.  In  a  list  of  game  taken  for  Edmund, 
Edward  I.'s  brother,  in  1279,  in  Dean  forest,  under  letters 
patent,  mention  is  made  of  one  wild  boar. 

Thomas  de  Langley,  master  forester  of  Wychwood,  Oxon.,  in 
1217,  received  the  royal  command  to  allow  William  de  Brewere 
to  take  wild  boars  (porcos  silvestres]  in  that  forest ;  and  in 
1223,  the  same  forester  was  instructed  to  take  two  wild  boars 
and  transfer  them  to  the  royal  park  of  Havering,  which  was 
part  of  Waltham  forest. 

There  are  several  records  of  wild  boar  hunting  in  Clarendon 
and  other  Wiltshire  forests  in  the  fourteenth  century. 

The  boar  or  wild  pig  roamed  through  Cranborne  Chase  as 
late  as  the  days  of  Elizabeth.  Hutchins  cites  two  fifteenth- 
century  cases  noted  in  the  presentments  of  this  chase.  Robert 
TDlare,  in  33  Henry  VI.,  was  ordered  to  be  distrained  for 
killing  four  wild  pigs  on  Iwerne  Hill.  Thomas  Robe,  vicar  of 
Iwerne,  was  attached  in  the  following  year  for  killing  four 
wild  pigs  in  Iwerne  Wood  with  his  bow  and  arrow. 

As  forests  lessened  in  extent,  the  wild  boar  diminished  in 
numbers  ;  but  their  survival  in  Lancashire,  Durham,  and 


Staffordshire,  in  the  sixteenth  century,  can  be  readily  estab- 
lished. James  I.  hunted  the  boar  in  Windsor  forest  in  1617. 
Charles  II. 's  reign  is  the  latest  time  at  which  this  animal  is 
known  to  have  survived  in  England  in  a  really  wild  state. 

The  WOLF. — The  abundance  of  wolves  throughout  England 
in  pre-Norman  days  is  borne  witness  to  by  the  Saxon  name  for 
January,  namely,  the  wolf-month.  There  was  probably  no 
part  of  England  where  the  wolves  had  surer  or  more  pro- 
longed retreats  than  amid  the  wilds  of  the  Peak  Forest  and  its 
borders.  The  last  places  in  this  country  where  they  tarried 
were  the  Peak,  the  Lancashire  forests  of  Blackburnshire  and 
Rowland,  and  the  wolds  of  Yorkshire.  It  has  been  confidently 
asserted  (Elaine's  Encyclopedia  of  Rural  Sports  [1858]  p.  105) 
that  entries  of  payment  for  the  destruction  of  wolves  appear  in 
the  account  books  of  certain  parishes  of  the  East  Riding,  pre- 
sumably of  sixteenth  or  seventeenth  century  date  ;  but  this  on 
examination  proves  to  be  an  error.  They  were  abundant  in 
Dean  forest  in  the  time  of  Edward  I.,  and  tenures  of  land 
in  the  forests  of  Rockingham  and  Sherwood,  on  the  service  of 
wolf-hunting,  were  renewed  in  the  fifteenth  century.  The  best 
authorities  (such  as  Harting  and  Lydekker)  consider  that 
wolves  did  not  die  out  in  England  until  the  time  of  Henry  VII., 
1485-1509.  The  last  wolf  was  killed  in  Scotland  in  1743. 
Packs  of  Irish  wolves  were  not  exterminated  until  1710,  and 
the  last  solitary  survivor  was  killed  in  1770.  Place  and  field 
names  afford  remarkably  abundant  evidence  of  the  considerable 
presence  of  wolves  in  North  Derbyshire.  Woolow  (formerly 
spelt  Wolflow),  Wolfhope,  and  Wolfscote  are  well-known  ex- 
amples. Wolfscote  Dale,  though  the  term  is  not  often  used, 
is  still  the  map-name  for  the  upper  stretch  of  Dovedale,  and 
Wolfscote  Grange  and  Wolfscote  Hill  are  close  to  the  forest 
border.  On  the  opposite  side  of  the  Dove,  in  Staffordshire,  is 
the  ridge  termed  Wolfedge.  The  village  boys  of  Hartington 
and  Beresford  Dale  used  to  play  at  wolves  and  wolf-hunting  in 
the  "forties"  of  last  century,  apparently  a  traditionary  game, 
as  stated  by  the  late  Mr.  Beresford  Hope.  Five  cases  of  wolf 
in  the  field-names  of  enclosures  within  the  bounds  of  the  old 
forest  have  been  found,  whilst  Wolfpit  occurs  as  a  boundary  of 
Priestcliffe  Common,  and  Wolfstone  of  Chinley  Common  in 
enclosure  commissions,  temp.  Charles  I. 




THE    BEASTS   OF   THE    FOREST          33 

A  careful  examination  of  forest  and  other  records  relative  to 
Derbyshire  has  brought  to  light  various  wolf  references,  most 
of  which  are  now  cited  for  the  first  time.  Among  the 
evidences  at  St.  Mary's  College,  Spink  Hill,  is  a  charter  of 
Robert  Ferrers,  Earl  of  Derby  (who  died  in  1139),  granting 
lands  at  Heage,  which  he  held  from  the  king  on  the  service 
of  driving  the  wolves  out  of  his  lordship  of  Belper,  within 
Duffield  Chase,  which  afterwards  became  a  royal  forest. 

Two  payments  entered  in  the  Pipe  Rolls  of  Henry  II.  are 
highly  significant  of  the  devastation  then  caused  by  Derby- 
shire wolves.  In  1160-1,  25^.  was  paid  to  the  forest  wolf- 
hunters  (in  lupariis}  as  an  extra  fee.  In  1167-8,  so  great  a 
value  was  set  on  the  skill  and  experience  of  the  Peak  wolf- 
trappers  (pedicatores),  that  Henry  II.  paid  los.  for  the  travel- 
ling expenses  of  two  of  them  to  cross  the  seas  to  take  wolves  in 

The  accounts  of  Gervase  de  Bernake,  bailiff  of  the  Peak  for 
1255-6  are  of  special  value,  as  they  contain  some  of  the  very 
few  specific  entries  that  have  yet  been  found  among  the  stores 
of  the  Public  Record  Office  of  damage  done  to  stock  by  wolves. 
Mention  is  made  therein  of  a  colt  (pullum  masculuni)  strangled 
by  a  wolf  in  Edale  (jugulat*  cum  lupo  in  Eydale) ;  and  in  another 
place,  in  a  list  of  waifs  that  accrued  to  the  lord,  there  is  reference 
to  two  sheep  which  were  also  strangled  by  wolves.  There 
is  another  thirteenth-century  reference  to  Derbyshire  forest 
wolves  which  seems  to  have  escaped  the  notice  of  county  and 
other  writers.  The  Hundred  Rolls  of  the  beginning  of 
Edward  I.'s  reign  record  that  Roger  Savage  was  asked  by 
what  right  he  maintained  dogs  to  take  foxes,  hares,  wild  cats, 
and  wolves,  and  replied  that  he  was  the  successor  of  William 
Walkelin,  who  had  a  royal  grant  to  that  effect. 

At  the  pleas  of  the  forest  held  at  Derby  in  1285,  it  was  shown 
that  a  bovate  of  land  held  by  John  le  Wolfhunte  and  Thomas 
Foljambe,  two  of  the  foresters-of-fee,  was  a  serjeanty  assigned 
for  taking  of  wolves,  in  Peak  Forest.  On  the  jurors  being 
asked  what  were  the  duties  pertaining  to  that  service,  the 
following  was  the  highly  interesting  reply  :— 

"  Each  year,  in  March  and  September,  they  ought  to  go  through 
the  midst  of  the  forest  to  set  traps  to  take  the  wolves  in  the  places 
where  they  had  been  found  by  the  hounds  ;  and  if  the  scent  was  not 


good  because  of  the  upturned  earth,  then  they  should  go  at  other 
times  in  the  summer  (as  on  St.  Barnabas  Day,  June  nth),  when  the 
wolves  had  whelps  (catulos)  to  take  and  destroy  them,  but  at  no 
other  times  ;  and  they  might  take  with  them  a  sworn  servant  to  carry 
the  traps  (ingenid)  ;  they  were  to  carry  a  bill-hook  and  spear,  and 
hunting-knife  at  their  belt,  but  neither  bows  nor  arrows  ;  and  they 
were  to  have  with  them  an  unlawed  mastiff  trained  to  the  work.  All 
this  they  were  to  do  at  their  own  charges,  but  they  had  no  other 
duties  to  discharge  in  the  forest." 

In  the  records  of  Cannock  forest,  Staffordshire,  for  1281, 
there  is  an  entry  of  a  wolf  having  killed  a  fat  buck ;  the  flesh 
was  given  to  the  lepers  of  Freford. 

The  Fox  was  always  held  to  be  noxious  in  England,  and  no 
penalty  was  attached  to  its  destruction.  Nevertheless,  it  was 
a  breach  of  law  to  hunt  them  within  a  royal  forest,  save  by 
special  licence;  the  obvious  reasons  being  that  such  hunting, 
if  unrestricted,  would  disturb  the  king's  game,  and  prove  an 
irresistible  temptation  to  poaching  with  not  a  few. 

William  Rufus  licensed  the  abbot  of  Chertsey  to  hunt  the 
fox  in  the  Surrey  side  of  Windsor  forest. 

Richard  I.  and  Henry  III.  granted  licence  to  the  abbot  of 
Waltham  to  hunt  the  fox  in  the  Essex  forest. 

King  John,  in  1204,  gave  the  abbot  of  St.  Mary's,  York, 
liberty  to  hunt  the  fox  freely  throughout  all  the  royal  forests  of 
Yorkshire.  The  abbess  of  Barking  had  like  rights  in  the 
forest  adjoining  her  house.  It  need  not  be  supposed  that  these 
religious  superiors  were  expected  by  these  licences  to  hunt 
personally — though  occasionally  an  irregular  abbot  might  thus 
indulge — the  licence  applied  to  their  duly  commissioned 

Licence  was  granted  in  1279  to  Adam  Attewell,  and  those 
whom  he  took  with  him,  to  take  foxes  throughout  the  forest  of 
Salop,  by  traps  and  other  means,  and  to  carry  them  away. 

Everyone  of  England's  forests  had  one  or  more  of  the 
neighbouring  landowners  holding  charters  authorising  the 
pursuit  of  the  fox  with  hounds,  save  in  the  fence  month  ;  most 
of  these  charters  dated  from  the  thirteenth  and  some  from  the 
twelfth  century.  In  the  large  majority  of  cases,  the  hunting  of 
the  hare  was  associated  with  that  of  the  fox.  The  burgesses 
of  Nottingham  had  a  chartered  right  to  pursue  the  fox  and  hare 

THE    BEASTS   OF   THE    FOREST          35 

in  Sherwood  forest,  and  this  right  was  held  to  warrant  certain 
burgesses  keeping  greyhounds  at  an  eyre  of  1538. 

Thomas  Bret,  the  vicar  of  Scalby,  in  Pickering  forest,  and 
four  others,  were  each  fined  6d.,  in  1336,  for  making  folds  of 
small  thorns — a  vert  offence — in  Scalby  Hay  to  guard  their 
sheep  from  the  fox. 

In  Turbervile's  Noble  Art  of  Venerie  or  Hunting  (1575),  the 
hunting  of  the  fox  and  badger  are  described  together.  Both 
were  hunted,  or  rather  drawn,  by  terriers.  He  remarks  : — 

"  As  touching-  foxes,  I  account  small  pastime  of  hunting  of  them, 
especially  within  the  ground  ;  for  as  soone  as  they  perceyve  the 
terryers,  if  they  yearne  hard  and  gx>e  neare  unto  them,  they  will 
bolte  and  come  out  streyghtwaies,  unlesse  it  be  when  the  bitch  hathe 
yong  cubbes  :  then  they  will  not  forsake  their  yong  ones  though  they 
die  for  it." 

When  the  fox  was  hunted  ''above  grounde,"  after  the  earth 
had  been  stopped,  the  hounds  of  the  chase  thus  employed  are 
described  as  greyhounds,  showing  that  the  fox  was  usually 
coursed  by  sight,  and  not  followed  by  scent. 

The  HARE  was  the  principal  beast  of  the  warren.  The  large 
majority  of  chartered  rights  for  the  hunting  of  the  fox  within 
forests  included  the  hare.  The  forest  pleas  of  Somerset,  in 
1287,  show  a  most  remarkable  exception  as  to  the  beasts  of  the 
forest  in  the  case  of  the  warren  of  Somerton,  within  whose 
bound  the  king  preserved  the  hare,  and  inquests  were  actually 
held  on  those  found  dead. 

At  the  eyre  held  at  Rockingham  in  1285,  certain  men  were 
presented  for  setting  nets  for  hares  in  Brigstock  park. 

A  curious  entry  in  the  Close  Rolls  of  1276  mentions  that  the 
keeper  of  Bernwood  forest  was  ordered  to  supply  Sir  Francis 
de  Bononia  (a  famous  secretary  of  Edward  I.),  with  several 
young  bucks  and  does,  and  also  four  live  hares  and  six  live 
rabbits,  to  be  placed  in  the  king's  garden  at  Oxford. 

At  an  eyre  held  at  Sherborne  in  1288,  the  jury  protested 
against  the  freemen  of  Cranborne  Chase  being  deprived  of 
their  dogs,  wherewith  they  had  a  right  to  hunt  the  hare  and 
the  fox. 

The  Coucher  Book  of  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster  contains  a 
great  variety  of  presentments  for  hare  hunting  and  hare  taking, 


particularly  in  the  forest  of  Pickering,  temp.  Edward  III. 
Robert  Hampton,  rector  of  Middleton,  presented  at  the  eyre 
for  keeping  four  greyhounds  and  hunting  hares  at  will,  made 
no  appearance  and  was  outlawed.  Matilda  de  Bruys  was  pre- 
sented as  accustomed  to  hunt  and  catch  hares  ;  she  appeared, 
was  fined  5.?.,  and  found  sureties  for  good  behaviour.  Peter  de 
Manlay,  jun.,  a  man  of  considerable  position,  was  fined  .£1 
for  hare  hunting,  and  Sir  Nicholas  de  Menill  £,\  6s.  8d. 
Others  were  fined  for  hare  hunting,  or  hare  killing  with  bow 
and  arrows,  from  13.?.  4^.  to  is.  according  to  their  position. 
How  such  charges  came  before  the  eyre  as  contrary  to  the 
forest  assize,  becomes  clear  from  the  nature  of  the  charge  in 
several  of  the  cases  ;  the  delinquents  are  described  as  catching 
hares  in  various  ways  "  to  the  terror  of  the  deer." 

The  WILD  CAT  was  usually  associated  with  the  fox  and  hare 
in  chartered  rights  for  forest  hunting  ;  we  have  found  it  thus 
included  in  forest  claims  of  Pickering,  Windsor,  Sussex, 
Cheshire,  and  Sherwood. 

The  wild  cat  is  named  by  Turbervile,  in  1575,  as  vermin  which 
used  to  be  commonly  hunted  in  England.  At  that  time  they 
were  not  hunted  designedly,  but  if  a  hound  chanced  to  cross 
a  wild  cat  he  would  hunt  it  as  soon  as  any  chase — ''and  they 
make  a  noble  trye  for  the  time  that  they  stand  up.  At  last, 
when  they  may  no  more,  they  will  take  a  tre,  and  therein  seek 
to  beguile  the  hounds.  But  if  the  hounds  hold  into  them,  and 
will  not  so  give  it  over,  then  they  leap  from  one  tree  to  another, 
and  make  great  shift  for  their  lives,  with  no  less  pastime  to  the 
huntsmen."  The  wild  cat  is  now  extinct  in  England  ;  it  is 
supposed  that  the  last  one  was  shot  by  Lord  Ravensworth  in 
1853,  at  Eslington,  Northumberland. 

The  MARTIN  is  mentioned  in  two  or  .three  of  the  forest 
hunting  grants.  Thus,  Richard  Dove,  chief  forester  of  Mara 
and  Moudrem,  established,  at  an  eyre  held  at  Chester  in  1271, 
his  claim  to  the  hunting  of  foxes,  hares,  cats,  martins,  and 
other  vermin  with  hounds  or  greyhounds. 

The  BADGER  is  also  included  in  certain  grants  for  forest 
hunting.  This  animal  is  expressly  named  in  Henry  III.'s 
grant  in  1252  to  Walter  Baskerville  in  the  forests  of  Hereford, 
Gloucester,  Oxford,  and  Essex;  in  the  1253  grant  to  Roger 
Hardy,  burgess  of  Scarborough,  throughout  the  whole  forest 

THE    BEASTS   OF   THE    FOREST          37 

of  Pickering  ;  in  the  1253  grant  to  John  of  Lexington,  in 
Essex  ;  in  two  other  grants  in  parts  of  Pickering  forest ;  and 
in  the  1297  grant  to  Thomas  Paynel,  in  the  Sussex  forest  of 

The  OTTER  obtains  mention  in  a  few  forest  proceedings  and 
accounts.  In  the  Peak  Forest  there  are  three  or  four  instances 
of  presentments  for  killing  it  with  hounds;  probably  on  the 
ground  of  disturbing  the  deer  by  such  an  action.  Edward 
IV.  had  a  pack  of  otter-hounds,  which,  like  the  packs  of 
harriers  and  buck-hounds,  was  composed  partly  of  running 
and  partly  of  scent  hounds. 

The  SQUIRREL  even  was  named  in  some  of  these  licences.  It 
was  included  in  the  first-named  grant  of  1253  to  John  of 
Lexington  ;  whilst  the  hunting  hare,  fox,  squirrel,  and  cat 
throughout  Sherwood  forest  formed  part  of  the  extensive 
privileges  pertaining  to  Robert  de  Everingham,  who  was 
removed  from  his  office  of  hereditary  keeper  or  chief  forester 
in  1289. 

The  RABBIT  or  Coney  has  already  been  mentioned  in  con- 
nection with  warrens.  The  free  chase  and  warren  of  Ashdown, 
Sussex,  were  held  by  Edward  I.'s  mother;  in  1283  proceed- 
ings were  taken  against  various  persons  for  hunting  and 
carrying  of  rabbits  from  her  park  at  Mansfield.  A  raid  made 
on  St.  Leonards  forest,  in  1295,  included  rabbits  amongst  the 

The  office  of  parker  of  Blagden,  in  Cranborne  Chase,  carried 
with  it  "the  ferme  of  the  cunnyes." 

The  rabbit  warrens  within  the  forest  of  Clarendon  were  of 
exceptional  value,  and  are  frequently  mentioned  in  the 
accounts.  In  the  time  of  Edward  III.  they  were  the  perquisite 
of  the  chief  keeper.  In  1495,  £100  received  from  the 
"  Fermour  of  the  Conyes  in  Clarendon,"  formed  an  item  of  the 
revenue  assigned  for  the  king's  household.  In  the  time  of 
Charles  I.  these  warrens  were  worth  upwards  of  £200  a  year. 

SWANS. — It  was  the  duty  of  the  chief  minister  of  each  ward 
of  Duffield  Frith  to  secure  the  king's  swans,  and  all  waif  and 
stray  swans  on  the  various  rivers  and  streams  within  the 
forest  limits.  That  there  used  to  be  many  swans  on  the 
Derwent,  in  Duffield  forest,  is  proved  by  the  name  Hopping 
Mill,  or  Hopping  Weir,  at  Milford.  Hopping,  or  upping,  was 


the  term  for  the  annual  marking  of  the  swans.  Swainsley,  on 
the  margin  of  the  river  near  Hopping  Mill,  is  a  corruption  of 
Swansley.  In  some  forests,  such  as  Windsor  and  Clarendon, 
swan  warding  was  an  important  part  of  the  forester's  duty. 
In  the  latter  forest  a  large  number  of  swans  were  kept  on  the 
river.  In  Edward  III.  reign  these  royal  birds  were  stolen  on 
several  occasions.  In  June,  1327,  the  prior  of  Ivy  Church 
and  another  were  commissioned  to  inquire  and  search  for 
certain  swans  which  were  said  to  have  been  conveyed  to  divers 
places  on  the  Avon,  between  Salisbury  and  Christchurch. 
Further  commissions  were  issued  to  recover  stolen  swans  in 
1331  and  in  1345  ;  on  the  latter  occasion  the  stolen  birds  were 
said  to  be  worth  the  great  sum  of  ^100. 

EYRIES  of  hawks  and  falcons  formed  the  subject  of  the  second 
inquiry  named  in  the  chapter  of  the  Regard,  drawn  up  in  1229. 
In  the  long  list  of  perquisites  pertaining  to  the  office  of  chief 
forester  of  Mara  and  Moudrem,  claimed  at  the  1271  eyre  held 
at  Chester,  is  the  right  to  all  sparrow  hawks,  merlins,  and 

Sir  John  de  Meaux  paid  to  the  Earl  of  Lancaster  for  his 
woods  of  Levisham,  in  Pickering  forest,  2s.  annual  rent,  and 
eyries  of  falcons,  merlins,  and  sparrow  hawks.  Thomas  Wake, 
in  his  barony  of  Middleton,  in  the  same  forest,  claimed  to  have 
eyries  of  sparrow  hawks  and  merlins  in  his  woods. 

When  the  regarders  assembled  in  Sherwood  forest  in  1309, 
the  foresters  swore  to  lead  the  twelve  knights  to  view,  inter  alia, 
the  eyries  of  hawks  and  falcons. 

Falcons  and  falconers  are  named  several  times  in  the 
fourteenth  century  in  connection  with  Rockingham  forest. 

PARTRIDGES  and  PHEASANTS  have  been  already  named  under 
warrens.  In  1336  two  offenders  were  fined  for  catching  par- 
tridges in  Pickering  forest ;  the  one  delinquent  had  to  pay  3^. 
4^.,  and  the  other  6d.  The  amounts  were  in  all  probability 
settled  in  accordance  with  their  social  position. 

Part  of  the  privileges  granted  in  the  forest  to  the  abbey  of 
Chertsey,  by  Henry  II.,  was  the  liberty  of  taking  pheasants. 
Among  the  offences  dealt  with  at  the  eyre  held  at  Guildford  in 
1488,  for  the  Surrey  portion  of  Windsor  forest,  was  the  fining 
of  Ralph  Bygley  in  the  heavy  sum  of  icw.  for  being  a  common 
destroyer  of  pheasants  and  partridges,  and  a  taker  of  birds. 


Another  offender  at  the  same  eyre  was  presented  for  killing  six 
pheasants  with  a  hawk. 

Pheasants  are  mentioned  in  a  raid  on  St.  Leonards  forest, 
Sussex,  in  1295. 

HERONS. — There  are  several  incidental  notices  of  herons  and 
heronries  among  the  forest  proceedings.  In  the  raid  that 
was  made  in  1295  on  the  forest,  or  rather  the  chase  of  St. 
Leonards,  Sussex,  herons  formed  part  of  the  booty  that  was 
unlawfully  removed.  In  1334  Sir  Walter  de  London,  the 
king's  almoner,  received  the  tithe  of  157  herons  that  had  been 
killed  in  Pickering  forest.  Mention  is  also  made  of  herons 
sent  up  to  London,  out  of  Clarendon  forest,  for  the  king's 
table,  on  several  occasions  in  the  fourteenth  century. 

WOODCOCKS. — The  accounts  of  Duffield  forest  for  1313-14 
make  mention,  under  the  ward  of  Hulland,  of  4^.  6d.  for  "  ix 
cokschutes."  A  cockshut  was  a  large  net  suspended  between 
two  poles,  employed  to  catch  or  shut  in  woodcocks  ;  it  was 
used  chiefly  in  the  twilight.  At  the  southern  extremity  of  this 
ward  is  a  farm  still  known  as  Cockshut.  The  same  place-name 
survives  on  the  sites  of  several  of  our  old  forests  ;  and  licences 
to  use  cockshuts  were  granted  at  swainmotes  in  Derbyshire, 
Hampshire,  and  Wiltshire.  Reference  to  woodcocks  will  also 
be  found  under  Galtres  forest. 

General  licences  for  fowling  in  specific  parts  of  a  forest  were 
sometimes  granted  in  the  local  courts.  On  several  occasions 
bird  fowlers  were  attached  at  fourteenth  and  fifteenth  century 
swainmotes  in  Duffield  Frith,  Clarendon  forest,  etc. ;  and  a  few 
examples  of  presentments  at  eyres  for  a  like  general  offence 
are  also  extant.  Thus,  at  Pickering,  in  1334,  Henry  the 
Fowler  of  Barugh,  Adam  the  Fowler  of  Ayton,  and  two  others, 
were  summoned  and  fined  for  catching  birds  in  the  forest  by 
means  of  nets,  birdlime,  and  other  devices.  The  general  dis- 
turbance of  the  deer  would  doubtless  cause  such  action  to  be 
considered  a  breach  of  the  assize  of  the  forest. 

BEES  and  HONEY. — The  fifth  chapter  of  the  Regard,  issued 
in  1229,  related  to  the  king's  right  to  the  honey  in  the  royal 
demesne  woods  of  the  forests.  At  the  Chester  eyre  of  1271, 
the  hereditary  chief  forester  of  Mara  and  Moudrem  claimed  all 
swarms  of  bees  as  part  of  his  extensive  perquisites. 

At  an  attachment  court  of  the  Lancashire  forests  of  Quern- 


more  and  Wyersdale,  in  1299,  several  men  were  presented  for 
taking  a  byke  or  nest  of  wild  bees,  and  carrying  the  honey  to 
the  house  of  Ralph  de  Caton,  where  it  was  found,  and  also  for 
burning  the  oak  tree  containing  the  comb  ;  the  tree  was  valued 
at  Afd.  and  the  honey  at  6d. 

A  long  roll  of  amercements,  imposed  at  an  eyre  for  Sherwood 
forest,  held  at  Nottingham  in  1334,  includes  a  fine  of  i2d.,  in 
addition  to  6d.  the  value  of  the  honey,  on  two  men,  for  carrying 
honey  from  out  of  the  forest. 

Particular  indictments  of  the  Pickering  eyre  of  1335  included 
the  taking,  by  one  Gilbert  Ayton,  of  a  gallon  of  honey  and  two 
pounds  of  wax  out  of  old  tree  trunks.  Gilbert  appeared  by 
attorney,  and  said  that,  by  the  great  Charter  of  the  Forest,  it 
was  provided  that  every  freeman  might  have  the  honey  found 
in  his  own  woods.  The  indictment  itself  stated  that  he  found 
the  honey  in  his  own  woods  of  Hutton  Bushell  and  Troutsdale, 
and  therefore  he  asked  for  judgment  in  his  favour,  and  ob- 
tained it. 

The  fifteenth-century  directions  to  the  ''collectors"  of  the 
different  wards  of  Duffield  Frith  instructed  them  to  take  for 
the  king  all  bykes  of  bees. 

The  ancient  right  of  the  Crown  to  forest  honey  may  be 
traced  in  the  claim  of  the  lords  of  the  manor  of  Wanstead, 
Essex,  in  1489,  to  the  profits  of  bees,  honey,  and  wax  in 
Wanstead  wood.  One  of  the  items  in  the  charge  at  the 
Epping  swainmote  of  later  days  was  :  "  If  any  man  do  take 
out  of  the  hollow  trees  any  honie,  wax,  or  swarmes  of  bees 
within  the  forest,  yee  shall  do  us  to  weet."  The  lord  of  the 
manor  of  Minestead,  in  the  New  Forest,  claimed  the  honey  in 
his  woods  as  late  as  1852. 


A^ART  from  the  beasts  of  the  forest  and  chase,  or  the  wild 
animals,  every  forest  district  had  its  quota  of  domestic 
animals,  feeding  regularly  or  occasionally  within  its 
bounds.  These  were  subject  to  the  strict  oversight  and  direc- 
tion of  the  agisters,  whose  office  has  already  been  explained. 
In  almost  every  case,  these  animals  were  the  property  of  the 
tenants  of  the  forest  or  its  purlieus.  Dartmoor  was  a  remark- 
able exception  to  this  rule,  inasmuch  as  almost  every  parish 
in  Devonshire  had  certain  rights  of  pasturage  if  it  chose  to 
exercise  them. 

All  forests  were  liable  to  have  agistment  and  pannage  sus- 
pended altogether  or  in  parts,  for  a  certain  year  or  more,  if 
the  circumstances  of  the  case  seemed  to  need  it.  Particular 
mention  of  this  is  made  in  a  charter  of  Henry  III.  to  the 
priory  of  Ivy  Church  in  Clarendon  forest 

In  several  forests,  notably  Essex,  there  was  also  a  regular 
winter  interval,  though  variable  in  duration,  when  all  agist- 
ment was  prohibited,  for  the  purpose  of  reserving  the  food  for 
the  deer  ;  this  was  called  Winter  Heyning.  Mention  is  made 
subsequently  of  the  fence  month. 

SWINE  and  PANNAGE. — Swine  were  usually  only  allowed  in 
forests  during  the  season  called  the  time  of  pannage,  when 
they  fed  upon  the  acorns  and  beech  mast  which  had  then  fallen. 
The  mast  season  lasted  from  i4th  September  to  :8th  November. 
Under  the  English  forest  laws  of  Henry  II.,  four  knights  were 
appointed  to  see  to  the  agistment,  and  to  receive  the  king's 
pannage,  which  in  well-wooded  forests  amounted  to  a  consider- 
able sum.  No  man  might  agist  his  own  woods  in  a  forest 
before  those  of  the  king  were  agisted  ;  the  agistment  of  the 



royal  woods  ended  fifteen  days  after  Michaelmas.  The  usual 
agistment  fee  was  a  penny  for  each  pig  above  a  year  old,  and 
a  halfpenny  for  every  pig  above  half  a  year  old.  The  swain- 
motes  were  constantly  engaged  in  the  late  autumn,  throughout 
England,  in  fining  those  who  had  unagisted  pigs  in  the  forest. 
The  pannage  fees  were  usually  paid  at  a  special  swainmote 
held  about  Martinmas,  which  was  sometimes,  as  in  Duffield 
Frith,  called  the  pannage,  or  "tack"  court.  Each  tenant  who 
had  common  rights  "tacked,"  or  declared  the  number  of  his 
pigs  turned  into  the  forest.  Any  untacked  were  forfeited,  and 
the  tenant  was  also  fined  according  to  the  steward's  pleasure. 
When  the  tenant  had  as  many  as  seven  swine,  the  king  had 
one,  but  returned  ^d.  for  it  to  the  tenant ;  if  eight,  the  king 
had  one,  returning  zd.  ;  if  nine,  id.  was  returned  ;  but  if  ten, 
one  was  taken  with  no  return.  This  remained  the  Duffield  rule 
to  the  end  of  its  days  as  a  forest.  There  is  also  a  good  deal  of 
evidence  of  this  being  carried  out  in  other  forests;  particularly 
the  proviso  of  the  king  having  the  best  one  of  every  ten 
pannaged  swine. 

Guildford  park,  in  the  Surrey  portion  of  Windsor  forest, 
was  agisted  in  1257  with  156  pigs,  and  in  that  case  the  king's 
claim  was  the  heavy  one  of  every  third  pig,  amounting  to 
52  pigs  worth  2s.  each.  In  1260  the  same  park  was  agisted 
with  240  pigs  ;  but  for  that  year  4^.  was  paid  for  each  pig. 

At  a  pannage  court  held  at  Birkley  lodge  on  2Qth  October, 
1523,  for  all  the  wards  of  Needwood  forest,  the  pannage  fees 
for  185  pigs  amounted  to  2js.  o\d.y  being  at  the  usual  rate  of 
id.  a  pig,  and  \d.  for  a  young  pig. 

Fines  for  collecting  and  carrying  off  both  acorns  and  beech 
mast  were  not  uncommon  at  the  autumn  swainmotes. 

It  should  be  remembered  that  any  freeman,  in  the  case  of 
swine  and  other  animals,  had  a  right,  by  the  Charter  of  the 
Forest,  to  agist  any  free  wood  of  his  own,  though  situated  in  a 
forest,  in  accordance  with  his  desire,  and  take  his  own  pannage. 
The  charter  also  granted  leave  to  any  freeman  to  drive  his 
swine  through  royal  demesne  woods,  in  order  to  gain  his  own 
wood  or  some  place  outside  the  forest. 

CATTLE. — The  agistment  of  cattle  in  certain  stretches  of  the 
forest,  as  well  as  their  pasturing  on  particular  lands,  was  usual 
throughout  England.  From  an  early  date  it  was  customary  to 


insist  upon  all  such  cattle  being  branded  for  identification. 
Thus,  in  the  accounts  of  1321-2  of  Needwood  forest  occurs  an 
item  of  ^d.  paid  for  an  iron  for  branding  the  cattle.  It  was, 
for  the  most  part,  the  duty  of  the  reeves  of  the  forest  parishes 
to  mark  with  some  distinctive  sign  the  cattle  entitled  to  feed 
upon  the  wastes.  In  the  case  of  the  Essex  forest,  the  mark 
consisted  of  a  letter  surmounted  in  each  case  by  a  crown.  The 
marking  irons  were  usually  eight  inches  in  height ;  Mr.  Fisher 
has  given  examples  of  a  considerable  number.  Representa- 
tion of  the  cattle  marks  of  the  different  parishes  of  Pickering 
forest  are  given  in  Home's  Town  of  Pickering  (1905). 

Dartmoor  was  the  most  conspicuous  example  of  a  vast  forest 
district  given  up  chiefly  to  the  pasturage  of  cattle.  The  ac- 
counts and  court  rolls,  from  the  time  of  Edward  III.  to  James  I., 
give  full  details  of  the  large  amount  of  cattle  turned  out  in  each 
of  its  four  divisions.  They  numbered  at  times  upwards  of  five 
thousand  head,  and  the  charge  right  through  this  long  period 
was  i^d.  each.  They  came  from  all  over  Devonshire,  and  the 
annual  great  drives,  to  see  their  correct  marking  and  number- 
ing, are  described  in  the  section  on  that  forest.  "Drifts"  of  cattle 
for  a  like  purpose  also  occur  in  the  Needwood  proceedings. 

Several  of  the  forest  rolls  from  the  time  of  Edward  I.  to 
Elizabeth,  yield  particulars  of  the  vaccaries  or  great  cowhouses 
with  pasturage  attached,  which  were  on  the  royal  demesnes, 
and  were  included  in  the  forest  accounts,  whether  under  direct 
management  or  let  out  to  farm.  Instances  occur  in  the  cases 
of  Duffield,  Pickering,  Clarendon,  and  Cheshire,  and  notably 
in  the  later  history  of  Peak  Forest. 

It  may  here  be  noticed  that  the  place-name  Booth,  by  itself 
or  in  combination,  is  usually  indicative  of  the  site  of  the 
residence  of  those  who  acted  as  cowherds.  This  is  particularly 
noticeable  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Edale,  Derbyshire,  where 
there  were  five  separate  vaccaries  in  the  time  of  Elizabeth. 

HORSES. — The  agistment  of  a  limited  number  of  horses,  and 
more  particularly  of  mares  with  colts,  was  common  throughout 
England's  forests.  Records  of  their  agistment  in  the  parks  of 
Duffield  forest  occur  in  the  accounts  of  several  centuries.  It 
was  generally  recognised  that  they  did  more  damage  than 
cattle  or  sheep,  and  therefore  their  escape  fines  were  heavier. 
Thus  at  a  Belper  (Duffield  forest)  woodmote  court  of  1304, 


various  offenders,  presented  by  the  foresters,  paid  i2d.  as  fines 
for  suffering  foals  and  mares  to  wander  in  the  ward,  whilst  the 
fines  for  plough-cattle  and  sheep  were  from  ^d.  to  id. 

In  subsequent  particulars  as  to  the  Peak,  reference  will  be 
found  as  to  the  establishment  of  stud  farms  within  a  forest 

The  ministers'  accounts  of  the  issues  of  Pickering  castle  and 
forest  in  1325-6  show  that  there  was  a  stud  (equiciuni)  of  two 
black  stallions,  called  "  Morel  of  Merton  "  and  "  Morel  of  Tut- 
bury  " ;  seventeen  mares ;  six  three-year-olds  (pullam),  four  two- 
year-old  colts  (staggi}  ;  three  two-year-old  fillies  (pultre)  ;  four 
yearling  fillies  (pultrelle) ;  eight  other  young  horses  (pulli  de 
remarencia]  ;  and  ten  foals  from  the  mares  {pulli  de  exitii). 

SHEEP. — A  charter  of  Canute  contains  the  grant  of  a  right  to 
feed  a  flock  of  sheep  in  a  forest.  At  the  Domesday  survey  there 
were  a  large  number  of  sheep  in  parishes  pertaining  to  the  forest 
of  Essex.  But  the  Norman  forest  laws  distinctly  forbade  sheep 
pasturing  in  forests  without  licence.  The  reason  usually  alleged 
for  this  restriction,  as  stated  in  a  seventeenth-century  action  at 
law,  was  in  respect  of  the  dislike  "which  the  Redd  and  fallow 
Deare  doe  naturallie  take  of  the  sent  and  smelle  of  the  sheepe  ; 
as  also  for  that  the  sheepe  do  undereate  the  Deare,  and  hurt 
and  spoyle  the  coverte,  and  thereby  prejudice  and  wrong  the 
Deare  both  in  their  feeding  and  layer."  This,  however,  was 
flatly  denied  by  the  other  side,  who  said  that  "  dayly  experience 
proveth  the  contrary  ;  and  that  yt  is  an  usuall  thing  to  see  a 
deere  and  a  sheepe  feed  together  in  one  quillet  of  ground,  even 
upon  one  mole-hill  together." 

When  the  tenants  of  Broughton,  in  Amounderness  forest, 
Lancashire,  claimed  at  an  eyre  of  1334  common  pasture  in  the 
forest  of  Fulwood,  sheep  were  excepted  because  they  failed  to 
produce  any  special  grant  for  the  pasturing  of  such  animals. 

In  the  later  forest  days,  when  the  breeding  of  sheep  in  this 
country  had  greatly  increased,  grants  for  their  admission  into 
forests  became  much  more  common.  The  agistment  rolls  of 
Dartmoor  forest  for  1571-2,  which  had  previously  been  con- 
fined to  cattle  and  horses,  include  a  considerable  number  of 
sheep,  in  flocks  varying  from  three  hundred  to  ten.  The 
illegal  introduction  of  sheep  into  Peak  Forest  in  Elizabethan 
days,  and  their  consequent  wholesale  impounding,  is  described 


in  a  subsequent  chapter.  The  freeholders  of  Needwood  forest, 
in  1680,  decided  that  sheep  found  pasturing  in  the  forest  were 
to  be  forfeited,  and  twelve  shillings  a  day  fine  for  each  sheep ! 

Sheep-farming  on  the  royal  demesnes  in  districts  associated 
with  forests,  and  therefore  found  in  forest  accounts,  occur 
occasionally,  notably  in  the  forests  of  Pickering  and  Peak 
Forest.  The  sheep  are  usually  divided  into  wethers  (multones), 
ewes  (oves,  or  oves  matrices),  two-year-olds  (bidentes},  hogs,  or 
male  one-year-olds  (hogastri),  gimmers,  female  sheep  from  first 
to  second  shearing  (j'erct'e^,  and  lambs.  Milking  ewes  and 
the  making  of  sheep-cheese  was  usual  throughout  mediaeval 
England.  Certain  particulars  relative  to  this  custom  will  be 
found  under  the  Peak  Forest. 

GOATS. — The  turning  out  of  goats  to  pasture,  even  in  the 
wildest  parts  of  a  forest,  was  unlawful ;  save  in  occasional  very 
restricted  areas,  under  express  licence.  By  tainting  the  pasture, 
they  effectually  banished  the  deer.  The  Scotch  law  of  the 
forest  provided  that  if  goats  were  found  for  a  third  time  in  a 
forest,  the  forester  was  to  hang  one  of  them  by  the  horns  on 
a  tree;  whilst  for  a  fourth  time  he  was  forthwith  to  slay  one, 
and  leave  its  bowels  in  the  place,  in  token  that  they  were  found 

In  the  lodgment  or  adjudication  of  claims  before  the  eyre, 
goats  are  often  expressly  excluded.  Thus  the  prioress  of 
Wykeham,  at  the  fourteenth-century  Pickering  eyre,  claimed 
common  of  pasture  in  certain  woods  and  adjoining  wastes  for 
all  animals  except  goats  ;  and  when  not  mentioned,  they  were 
certainly  tacitly  excluded.  On  the  other  hand,  at  the  same 
eyre,  the  claims  of  Gilbert  de  Ayton  to  pasture  goats  in  the 
moors  and  woods  of  Hutton  Bushel,  within  the  covert  and 
without,  at  all  times  of  the  year,  and  of  Ralph  de  Hasting  in 
his  woods  and  moors  at  Allerston,  Cross  Cliff  and  Staindale 
were  allowed.  Certain  stray  goats  found  in  the  forest  of  Mara, 
Cheshire,  in  1271,  were  forfeited  to  the  master  forester.  The 
tenants  of  Broughton,  in  the  Lancashire  forest  of  Amounder- 
ness,  had  common  pasture  granted  them  at  Fulwood,  in  1334, 
for  all  animals  save  goats.  At  a  swainmote  in  Wyersdale 
forest,  in  the  same  county,  held  at  Whitsuntide,.  1479,  eight 
transgressors  were  presented  for  keeping  goats ;  the  goats 
numbered  forty-one,  eight  of  which  belonged  to  the  prioress  of 


Seton.  No  fewer  than  fifty-six  persons  were  presented  at  the 
Epping  Forest  justice  seat  of  1323-4  for  keeping  goats  on  the 
forest  contrary  to  the  assize. 

When  Henry  III.  was  tarrying  at  Stamford  in  1229,  he 
was  approached  by  the  men  on  the  royal  demesne  of  Kings- 
cliff  and  the  neighbouring  townships,  complaining  piteously 
that  Hugh  de  Neville,  the  keeper  of  Rockingham  forest,  and 
his  bailiffs  prohibited  them  from  turning  out  their  goats  in  the 
forest  of  Cliff  according  to  ancient  custom.  The  goats  must 
have  been  in  considerable  numbers,  for  the  men  asserted  that 
they  could  not  support  their  lives  if  this  prohibition  was  sus- 
tained. The  king  thereupon  ordered  that  they  should  be  per- 
mitted to  pasture  their  goats  in  the  more  open  part  of  the 
wood  (in  clariori  bosco),  and  wherever  they  would  do  the  least 
injury  to  the  forest. 


THE  sixth  article  of  the  Charter  of  the  Forest  (1217)  dealt 
with  the  old  custom  of  the  lawing  of  dogs.  The  inqui- 
sition or  view  of  the  lawing  of  dogs  in  the  forest  was  for 
the  future  to  be  made  every  third  year,  and  he  whose  dog  was 
then  found  to  be  unlawed  was  to  be  fined  three  shillings.  This 
mutilation  of  dogs,  termed  lawing  or  expeditation,  to  prevent 
them  chasing  the  game,  is  said  to  be  as  old  as  the  time  of 
Edward  the  Confessor.  By  the  forest  law  of  Henry  II.  it  was 
done  to  mastiffs.  The  charter  of  1217  laid  down  that  the  law- 
ing was  to  consist  in  cutting  off  the  three  claws  of  the  forefeet, 
without  the  ball.  "The  mastive,"  says  Manwood,  "  being 
brought  to  set  one  of  his  forefeet  upon  a  piece  of  wood  eight 
inches  thick  and  a  foot  square,  then  one  with  a  mallet,  setting 
a  chissell  two  inches  broad  upon  the  three  clawes  of  his  fore- 
foot, at  one  blow  doth  smite  them  cleane  off." 

This  lawing,  though  originally  intended  only  for  mastiffs, 
was  usually  applied  to  all  dogs  in  forest  bounds.  This  was 
certainly  the  case  in  the  forests  of  Rockingham,  Pickering, 
and  Essex.  The  right  to  have  unlawed  dogs  was  not  un- 
frequently  granted  by  the  Crown  to  persons  of  position  and 
influence.  Thus  the  Canons  of  Waltham,  the  Bishop  of  Lon- 
don, and  the  Dean  and  Chapter  of  St.  Paul's  had  grants 
exempting  their  house  dogs  in  Essex  forest;  whilst  the  Earl  of 
Arundel  and  other  laymen  obtained  complete  exemption.  It 
'was  the  custom  in  some  forests,  as  at  Pickering,  for  outlying 
townships  to  pay  a  composition,  termed  in  that  forest  "  hun- 
gill "  or  "  houndgeld,"  for  the  purpose  of  securing  immunity 
from  lawing. 

The  dog  of  most  common  occurrence  in  forest  proceedings 
is  the  greyhound  (leporarius),  which  hunted  by  sight.  By  the 



Assize  of  Woodstock  (1184),  the  keeping  of  greyhounds  in  the 
forest  was  forbidden.  In  the  cases  of  venison  trespass  through- 
out the  forests  of  England,  the  illicit  hunting  of  deer  with 
greyhounds,  with  or  without  bows  and  arrows,  is  the  com- 
monest charge.  The  last  chapter  of  the  Regard  of  13 
Henry  III.  directed  inquiry  to  be  made  as  to  who  had 
braches  or  greyhounds  or  anything  else  for  doing  harm  to  the 
king's  deer.  Lists  of  those  keeping  greyhounds  are  some- 
times found  amongst  the  extant  eyre  rolls.  Greyhounds  found 
in  a  forest,  or  straying  in  pursuit  of  deer,  were  sent  forthwith  to 
the  particular  justice  of  that  forest.  Thus  a  number  of  grey- 
hounds in  the  charge  of  poachers,  found  in  Rockingham  forest 
in  1246,  were  sent  by  the  foresters  and  verderers  to  Sir  Robert 
Passclew,  then  justice  of  that  forest.  It  is  thought  that  the 
old  greyhound  was  a  larger  and  more  powerful  dog  than  that 
which  we  know  by  that  name,  and  more  nearly  resembled  our 
deerhound.  Dr.  Caius  (English  Dogges,  1576)  applies  the 
word  to  various  breeds.  He  describes  the  greyhound  as — 

"A  spare  and  bare  kinde  of  dogge  (of  fleshe  but  not  of  bone)  ; 
some  are  of  a  greater  sorte,  and  some  of  a  lesser  ;  some  are  smooth 
skynned,  and  some  are  curled  ;  the  bigger  thereof  are  appoynted  to 
hunt  the  big"ger  beasts,  and  the  smaller  serve  to  hunt  the  smaller 

Brache  (brachettus)  was  the  general  term  for  hounds  that 
hunted  by  scent  (odore  sequentes),  and  the  bercelet  (bercelettus} 
was  a  smaller  hound  of  the  same  kind.  The  limehound 
(limarius)  also  hunted  by  scent,  and  the  name  may  have  been 
but  an  alias  for  a  bercelet.  The  limehound,  or  lymer,  as  it  is 
termed  by  Twici  and  Caius,  took  its  name  from  the  line  or 
thong  by  which  it  was  held.  Caius  says  this  dog  is  in  smelling 
irregular  and  in  swiftness  incomparable,  and  that  it  taketh  the 
prey  "  with  a  jolly  quickness." 

The  mastiff  (inastivus)  is  of  fairly  frequent  occurrence  in 
forest  proceedings  of  the  thirteenth  and  subsequent  centuries  ; 
it  seems  to  have  corresponded  to  our  dog  of  the  same  name. 
It  was  large  and  strong,  and  evidently  employed  chiefly  for  the 
protection  of  property  and  person.  It  was  used  for  the  destruc- 
tion of  wolves,  and  was  capable  of  hunting  and  pulling  down 
both  red  and  fallow  deer. 


Straknr  was  the  name  of  a  kind  of  dog  in  favourite  use 
among  Cumberland  deer-poachers,  according  to  an  eyre  roll 
of  15  Edward  I.  But  it  was  not  merely  a  North-country 
word,  for  we  have  met  with  it  twice  in  Wiltshire  forest  pro- 

Velters  (valtri,  veltri,  or  vautrarii)  were  running  hounds  akin 
to  but  separate  from  the  old  greyhound.  Blount  says  that  it 
was  a  mongrel  hound  used  for  the  chase  of  the  wild  boar. 

In  addition  to  the  rough  division  of  dogs  of  the  forest  into 
those  that  hunted  by  sight  and  those  that  hunted  by  scent, 
terms  are  commonly  found,  in  the  forest  proceedings,  for  dogs 
that  hunted  different  kinds  of  game.  Thus  those  that  were 
used  for  hunting  the  red  deer  were  termed  cervericii  canes,  or 
hart  hounds.  They  were  a  breed  of  running  hounds,  and  were 
not  used  exclusively  for  hart  hunting.  In  the  fifteenth  century 
the  king  had  a  master  of  hart  hounds. 

Damericii  canes  were  the  buckhounds  for  hunting  the  fallow 
deer.  Small  packs  of  these  buckhounds  are  frequently  men- 
tioned as  accompanying  the  royal  huntsman  of  Henry  III.  and 
Edward  I. 

The  roe  deer  were  occasionally  hunted,  and  canes  cheverolerez 
are  mentioned  several  times  as  being  sent  to  forests  by  King 
John.  On  one  occasion  Adam,  his  huntsman,  was  accompanied 
by  a  pack  of  seventeen  roehounds,  and  on  another  by  one  of 

Porcerecii  canes  is  obviously  the  name  of  hounds  used  for 
hunting  wild  boars.  We  have  met  with  the  term  in  several 
rolls  of  John,  Henry  III.,  and  Edward  I.,  among  dogs 
dispatched  to  the  royal  forests. 

Lutericii  canes  is  the  equivalent  for  otterhounds.  Mr.  Turner 
cites  their  occurrence  in  a  wardrobe  account  of  18  Edward  I. 
They  are  also  mentioned  in  the  same  reign  in  the  Peak  Forest, 
and  occur  in  connection  with  Clarendon  forest  in  the  fifteenth 

Haericii  canes  denoted  a  particular  kind  of  running  hound, 
and  is  usually  rendered  "  harriers."  There  is  said,  however,  to 
be  no  real  philological  connection  between  the  term  and  hares, 
and  they  were  certainly  used  in  hunting  deer,  as  is  abundantly 
proved  by  Mr.  Turner. 

Dogs  are  frequently  distinguished  by  their  colour  in  cases 


of  venison  trespass.  In  the  case  of  a  Rockingham  trespass  of 
1246  with  five  greyhounds,  one  was  white,  another  black,  a 
third  fallow,  a  fourth  black-spotted,  and  the  fifth  tawny 
(teyngre).  Other  terms  for  greyhound  colour  in  forest  pro- 
ceedings are  ticked  (tetchelatus},  tiger  -  marked  or  brindled 
(tigrus],  and  red  (ruffus  and  rtibens}.  In  a  presentment  of 
the  Lancashire  forest  of  Quernmore  a  greyhound  is  described 
as  being  red  with  a  black  muzzle  (cum  nigro  mussell}.  Occa- 
sionally a  dog's  name  is  entered  on  the  proceedings,  as  was 
the  case  with  a  certain  black  greyhound  in  Peak  Forest,  called 
"Collyng."  The  name  occurs  in  poaching  charges  at  two 
different  courts. 

The  early  treatises  on  hunting  pay  great  attention  to  the 
diseases  of  sporting  dogs  and  their  general  treatment. 

Frequent  mention  will  be  found  in  subsequent  chapters  of 
the  general  custom  of  allowing  local  foresters  to  kill  one  or 
two  deer  a  year,  when  training  their  young  dogs. 

In  Sir  Henry  Dryden's  edition  of  Twici  (vide  infm),  there  is 
a  brief  appendix  on  the  various  kinds  of  dogs  used  in  hunting. 
He  gives  a  plate,  here  reproduced,  of  outline  sketches  of  dogs 
from  illuminations  of  Gaston  de  Foix's  French  treatise.  Fig.  i 
is  the  alant,  or  kind  of  mastiff,  described  as  running  swiftly  but 
also  following  by  scent.  It  was  used  in  France  chiefly  for 
bears  and  boars.  On  account  of  its  ferocity,  it  was  generally 
kept  muzzled.  Fig.  2  is  a  gazehound,  or  greyhound.  Fig  3 
is  a  lymer,  or  limehound,  with  hanging  ears  something  like 
a  bloodhound.  Figs.  4  and  5  picture  the  brache  or  rache. 
This  is  usually  represented  in  Gaston's  pictures  as  black  and 
tan.  It  corresponded  to  our  beagle. 

The  old  seasons  for  forest  hunting  are  almost  invariably 
given  wrongly  in  works  or  articles  dealing  with  the  subject ; 
the  errors  were  usually  made  through  imagining  that  the 
English  seasons  coincided  with  those  prevailing  on  the  Con- 
tinent. The  true  hunting  times  can,  however,  be  gathered  from 
original  forest  proceedings. 

Pinguedo  was  the  term  for  the  season  of  hunting  the  hart 
and  the  buck  when  they  were  fat,  or,  to  use  forest  jargon,  "  in 
grease  "  ;  it  extended  from  24th  June  to  i4th  September. 

Fermisona,  or  fermisone,  was  the  period  for  hunting  the 
hind  and  the  doe,  which  lasted  from  nth  November  to  2nd 


February.     The  summer  hart  or  buck  venison  was  considered 
much  more  of  a  delicacy  than  the  winter  hind  or  doe  venison. 

There  are  a  variety  of  entries  on  the  Close  Rolls  from  the 
time  of  John  to  Edward  II.,  relative  to  the  dispatch  of  the 
king's  huntsmen  and  attendants  and  hounds  to  different  forests, 
for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  venison  for  the  royal  household  ; 
most  of  this  was  salted  down  on  the  spot  and  committed  to 
the  sheriff  for  delivery.  A  small  selection  of  such  cases,  of 
the  reigns  of  Edward  I.  and  II.,  are  cited  here  instead  of 
under  the  respective  forests.  Entries  of  this  kind  make  it 
quite  clear  that  no  large  hunting  staff  or  kennels  were  main- 
tained in  the  actual  forests  ;  they  were  reserved  for  the  king, 
and  occasionally  for  his  friends,  the  local  foresters  having  only 
a  few  hounds  in  training  for  the  use  of  the  master  of  the 

On  December  I3th,  1275,  Matthew  de  Columbariis,  keeper 
of  the  forest  of  Clarendon,  received  orders  to  permit  Henry  de 
Candover,  the  king's  huntsman,  to  take  twenty  does  for  the 
king's  use  against  Christmas,  and  to  give  him  due  aid  and 
counsel  ;  certain  of  the  king's  yeomen  accompanied  the  hunts- 
man. In  1280,  when  Philip  de  Candover  was  king's  huntsman, 
he  received  during  his  visit  to  Clarendon  forest  2s.  6d.  a  day 
from  the  sheriff  of  Wilts  for  his  wages,  whilst  the  expenses  of 
his  horses  and  of  the  pack  of  twenty-six  hounds  and  their  two 
keepers  (or  berners)  amounted  to  £18  i$s.  4^.  In  the  follow- 
ing year  the  pack  numbered  thirty-two,  and  the  expenses  were 
£24  15-5-.  id. 

In  November,  1313,  the  sheriff  of  Berks  was  ordered  to  pay 
to  Robert  le  Squier,  whom  the  king  was  sending  to  take 
eight  hinds  and  six  bucks  in  Windsor  forest,  with  two 
berners,  three  ventrers,  one  berceletter,  twenty-four  running 
dogs,  twelve  greyhounds,  and  two  bercelets,  his  wages,  during 
his  stay  in  his  bailiwick,  to  wit  i2d.  a  day,  and  2d.  a  day  for 
each  of  the  berners,  ventrers,  and  the  berceletter,  and  \\d. 
a  day  for  each  of  the  dogs,  greyhounds,  and  bercelets.  He 
was  also  to  deliver  him  salt  for  the  venison,  and  carriage  for 
the  same,  to  the  king.  There  was  another  order  to  the  sheriff 
of  the  like  kind  in  June,  1314,  and  in  July,  1316. 

Edward  II.,  in  July,  1315,  issued  his  mandate  to  the  sheriff 
of  Devonshire  to  pay  to  Robert  Squier  and  David  de  Franketon, 


two  of  the  royal  yeomen,  wages  of  i2d.  a  day,  two  berners 
and  two  ventrers  zd.  a  day,  together  with  \d.  a  day  for  each 
of  twenty-four  running  dogs,  and  i\d.  a  day  for  each  of  nine 
greyhounds,  whilst  they  hunted  for  the  king  in  Dartmoor 
Forest.  He  was  also  to  provide  salt  and  barrels,  and  carriage 
for  the  venison.  At  the  same  time,  the  keeper  of  Dartmoor 
Forest  was  ordered  to  permit  Robert  and  David  to  take  twenty 

In  July,  1315,  Edward  II.  (after  giving  like  instruction  to 
the  sheriff  of  Somerset  with  regard  to  the  forests  of  Neroche, 
Petherton,  Mendip,  and  Selwood)  ordered  the  sheriff  of 
Devon  to  pay  to  the  king's  yeomen,  Robert  Squier  and  David 
de  Franketon,  whom  the  king  was  sending  with  two  berners, 
twenty-four  running  dogs,  two  ventrers,  and  nine  greyhounds, 
to  take  venison  in  the  forest  of  Exmoor,  \2d.  a  day  each  whilst 
thus  engaged,  together  with  2d.  a  day  for  each  of  the  berners, 
and  \d.  a  day  for  each  of  the  running  dogs,  and  zd.  a  day  for 
each  of  the  ventrers,  with  i\d.  a  day  for  each  greyhound.  He 
has  also  to  provide  the  yeoman  with  salt  and  barrels  for  the 
venison,  and  to  provide  for  the  carriage  of  the  same.  At  the 
same  time  the  keeper  of  Exmoor  received  orders  to  permit  the 
king's  huntsmen  to  take  twenty  harts  out  of  the  forest.  Ex- 
moor  was  evidently  at  that  time  the  exclusive  haunt  of  the  red 
deer  ;  the  keepers  of  Neroche,  Selwood,  and  Petherton  were 
ordered  to  supply  so  many  bucks  (i.e.  fallow  deer),  whilst  the 
keeper  of  Mendip  was  to  supply  twelve  bucks  and  twelve  harts. 

The  berner  (bernarius]  was  the  title  of  the  man  in  charge  of 
running  hounds ;  the  ventrer  or  fewterer  [veltrarius]  had 
charge  of  the  greyhounds  ;  and  the  berceletter  was  responsible 
for  the  bercelets  or  hounds  that  hunted  by  scent.  The  reason 
for  salting  down  the  venison  was  because  of  the  difficulty  of 
obtaining  fresh  meat  in  the  winter  season,  when  root  crops 
were  unknown,  and  the  expenses  of  fodder  for  all  kinds  of 
cattle  were  so  serious.  In  a  few  of  the  forests  large  larders 
were  maintained,  for  the  express  purpose  of  salting  the  venison 
when  the  summer  season  of  hunting  was  over.  In  such  cases 
there  was,  of  course,  no  necessity  to  order  the  sheriff  to  see  to 
the  salting  or  pay  for  the  carriage  of  the  meat  to  the  royal 
household.  There  were  such  larders  in  Duffield  Frith  and  in 
Needwood  forest.  An  example  of  a  year's  accounts,  con- 


taining   references  to   the   local    salting,   and   to   the   general 
distribution  of  the  venison,  are  here  given. 

The  master  forester  of  Needwood,  for  the  year  1313-14, 
was  John  de  Myneers.  His  venison  accounts  for  the  year 
show  that  95  fat  bucks  and  12  does  were  killed  in  the  twelve- 
month. Ten  of  the  bucks  served  for  the  king's  hospitality  at 
Tutbury,  ten  more  were  sent  to  the  king  at  Melburne,  and 
twenty-three  bucks  and  six  does  to  the  king  at  Castle  Donning- 
ton.  Six  does  were  sent  to  Bagworth  for  the  hospitality  of 
Robert  de  Holand.  Twenty-one  bucks  were  distributed,  on 
the  king's  warrant,  to  John  de  Ashborne,  Walter  de  Mont- 
gomery, and  ten  other  gentlemen.  The  remainder  were  salted 
down  for  winter  use  in  the  larder.  The  master  forester's 
accounts  include  igs.  $d.  for  4  qrs.  6  Ibs.  of  salt  for  the  larder, 
whilst  4-s1.  t\\d.  were  paid  as  wages  of  the  larderer  for  five  weeks' 

Nicholas  de  Hungerford  was  at  the  same  time  (1313-14) 
master  forester  of  Duffield  Frith.  His  general  accounts  for 
the  forest  showed  receipts  of  £15  i6s.  o\d.  Of  this  amount 
£9  2s.  6d.  was  paid  in  wages,  16^.  8d.  for  salt  for  salting  the 
venison,  and  i  stag  and  31  bucks  and  does  in  the  forest  larder 
at  Belper.  The  deer  taken  this  year,  by  order  of  the  master 
forester,  under  the  warrants  of  the  Earl  of  Lancaster,  were 
i  stag,  41  bucks,  and  25  does.  In  addition  to  this,  Lord 
Robert  de  Holand — the  foundations  of  whose  great  moated 
house  still  remain  within  the  Hulland  ward — was  allowed  to 
take  20  bucks  for  the  earl's  larder.  The  master  forester  paid 
9-r.  8d.  for  the  carriage  of  33  bucks  from  Belper  to  Kenilworth, 
and  14.?.  for  the  carriage  of  12  bucks  from  Belper  to  Castle 
Donnington,  and  4  bucks  to  Melburne,  in  accordance  with 
letters  from  the  earl. 

It  was  the  custom  in  every  forest  to  cut  what  was  usually 
termed  browsewood  or  clear  browse  for  the  sustenance  of  the 
deer  in  the  winter  season.  The  references  to  this  practice  are 
innumerable  and  interesting  throughout  almost  every  class  of 
forest  proceedings.  Manwood  says  :— 

"  When  there  is  not  sufficient  foode  for  the  deere,  neyther  of  grasse 
nor  of  such  fruites,  then  the  forresters  that  have  the  charge  of  the 
wild  beasts,  must  provide  browsewood  to  be  cut  downe  for  them  to 
feed  upon." 


He  also  states  that  the  lord  of  a  forest  might  enter,  by  his 
officers,  into  any  man's  wood  within  the  forest  limits,  to  cut 
such  browsewood  for  the  deer  in  winter.  It  was  usual  to  cut 
it  in  the  late  autumn,  and  store  it  ready  for  sprinkling  about 
when  the  severe  weather  or  frosts  came.  It  was  supposed  to 
be  cut  from  twigs  that  were  not  more  than  an  inch  in  circum- 
ference, nor  heavier  than  a  deer  may  readily  turn  up  with  his 
horns.  In  all  forests  the  browsewood  seems  to  have  chiefly 
consisted  of  oak  twigs  ;  but  evidence  is  cited  showing  that 
holly  and  ivy,  as  well  as  maple,  hazel,  thorn,  and  ash  were 
occasionally  used  for  this  purpose. 

In  the  more  favourite  royal  forests,  such  as  Rockingham, 
Clarendon,  and  Windsor,  a  certain  amount  of  hay  was  also 
used  for  the  winter  feeding  of  the  deer  at  an  early  period,  but 
in  later  forest  history  hay-feeding  became  commoner. 

Everything  in  the  forest  was  made  to  give  way  to  the  deer, 
and  where  hedges  or  enclosures  of  any  kind  were  permitted 
for  the  cultivation  of  crops,  they  had  always  to  be  constructed 
sufficiently  low  to  allow  of  the  ingress  and  egress  of  the  deer. 

The  owners  of  lands  adjoining  the  forest  were  in  the  habit, 
if  they  had  a  grant  of  imparking,  of  making  certain  contriv- 
ances called  deer-leaps  or  salteries  (saltatoria).  These  were  so 
contrived  that  the  deer  could  readily  leap  into  the  park  over  a 
fence  of  moderate  height,  but  were  prevented  from  returning 
by  a  steep  upward  slope  in  the  ditch  inside  the  park  fence. 
Occasionally  such  deer-leaps  were  deliberately  constructed  in 
parks  within  a  forest  for  the  convenience  of  catching  or  herd- 
ing the  deer.  But  there  are  various  instances  of  deer-leaps 
being  presented  to  the  justices  in  eyre  as  a  nuisance  to  the 
forest.  If  it  was  within  a  short  distance  of  the  forest,  they 
had  power  to  order  its  removal.  At  the  Cumberland  eyre  of 
1285,  a  presentment  was  made  that  Isabel  of  Clifford  had  a 
park  with  two  deer-leaps,  one  of  which  was  a  mile  (leuca),  and 
the  other  a  mile  and  a  half  from  the  forest  of  Quinfield.  At 
an  inquisition  at  Somerton,  in  1364,  the  jurors  complained  of 
two  deer-leaps  three  miles  distant  from  the  forest,  as  detri- 
mental to  the  king's  game  and  contrary  to  the  assize  of  the 

BUCKSTALLS,  etc. — There  are  various  references  in  forest 
proceedings  to  buckstalls.  A  buckstall  was  an  extended  trap  or 


toil  for  deer,  of  which  nets  usually  formed  a  component  part ; 
but  the  definition  generally  given — "a  net  for  taking  deer" — 
is  not  sufficient.  Earth  ramparts  and  wattled  work  were  also 
generally  used  in  its  construction  ;  it  was,  in  fact,  a  kind  of 
cunning  enclosure  wherein  the  deer  could  be  taken  alive,  as  is 
implied  in  the  term  deer-hay.  A  "buckstalle  vel  dere-hay " 
is  named  in  presentments  of  Clarendon  forest. 

Matthew  de  Hathersage,  a  baron,  was  presented  at  the  eyre 
of  1251  for  having  a  buckstall  in  his  great  wood  at  Hather- 
sage, which  was  distant  barely  two  bow-shots  from  the  king's 
forest  of  the  Peak.  The  baron  pleaded  that  his  ancestors  had 
always  had  a  buckstall  in  their  wood,  and  that  formerly  it  was 
still  nearer  to  the  bounds  of  Peak  Forest.  The  upshot  of  the 
matter  was  that  the  decision  went  against  Matthew,  who  had 
to  pay  a  fine  of  twenty  marks. 

The  master  forester  of  Duffield  Frith  was  instructed  to  see 
that  there  were  no  buckstalls  set  upon  the  borders  of  that 
forest,  and  the  ministers  of  each  ward  were  enjoined  to  pre- 
sent at  the  woodmote  the  setting  of  "any  haye  or  buckstakes, 
trappes,  or  springes  for  deere." 

Among  the  claims  at  the  Pickering  eyre  of  1334,  the  prior  of 
Malton  claimed  that  he  and  his  men  were  quit  of  all  buck- 
stall  service,  which  he  explained  to  mean  a  duty  laid  on  all 
other  forest  residents  of  assembling  for  the  purpose  of  collect- 
ing the  deer  into  an  enclosure  which  they  have  to  make  for 
that  purpose,  and  failing,  are  heavily  fined.  The  prior  failed, 
however,  to  make  this  part  of  his  claim  good.  The  prior  of 
Ellerton  at  the  same  time  claimed  a  like  exemption  from 
buckstall  attendance,  and  on  the  production  of  a  charter 
of  Henry  III.  his  claim  in  this  respect  was  allowed. 

An  instance  occurred  at  the  forest  pleas  of  Pickering  in 
1488,  in  which  the  term  buckstall  was  used  simply  for  snar- 
ing-nets.  It  was  then  presented  that  one  Thomas  Thomson, 
a  yeoman,  with  a  number  of  unknown  persons,  entered 
T31andsby  park  at  midnight  with  a  horse  laden  cum  retibus 
vocatis  buckstalles  et  ropes,  killing  about  twenty  does.  An  Act 
of  Parliament,  a  few  years  later,  prohibited  anyone  who  was  not 
the  owner  of  a  park,  chase,  or  forest,  using  a  buckstall  under 
a  penalty  of  £10. 

There  were  various   devices,   apart   from   the   buckstall    or 


enclosure,  used  for  the  snaring  of  deer.  In  1246,  the  forester 
of  Brigstock  park,  Rockingham  forest,  found  two  men 
setting  five  snares  of  horsehair  for  taking  fawns  or  hares. 
The  men  were  taken  before  the  verderers,  and  gave  pledges 
to  appear  at  the  next  eyre.  In  1251,  a  trap  was  found  set 
in  the  same  park.  Robert,  chaplain  of  Sudborough,  was 
suspected,  and  on  his  house  being  searched  the  woodwork 
of  a  trap  with  the  cord  broke  was  found  ;  on  the  cord  was 
deer's  hair.  In  1255,  a  snare,  consisting  of  four  cords 
stretched  round  a  dish  of  water,  was  found  in  the  wood  of 
Bassethawe  (Rockingham).  The  foresters  watched  all  night 
to  see  if  anyone  would  come,  but  in  vain.  On  the  following 
day  an  inquisition  was  held  by  the  four  neighbouring  town- 
ships, before  the  stewards  of  the  forest  and  one  of  the 
verderers.  Sir  Robert  Basset,  the  owner  of  the  wood,  found 
twelve  pledges  to  produce  Peter,  the  forester  of  the  wood, 
whenever  required  ;  the  cords  were  handed  to  the  verderer  to 
produce  at  the  next  eyre,  and  the  wood  of  Bassethawe  was 
taken  into  the  king's  hands. 

The  commonest  kind  of  deer  snares  seem  to  have  taken  two 
forms,  occasionally  both  combined  ;  the  one  was  the  inter- 
twining of  cords  between  stout  stakes  in  the  midst  of  a  usual 
deer  track,  and  the  other  the  suspending  of  halters  or  looped 
ropes  in  the  trees  overhead  to  catch  the  deer  by  their  heads 
or  horns.  In  1260,  five  workmen  employed  in  Guildford  park 
in  mending  the  pales  and  cutting  down  oaks  for  that  purpose, 
set  cords  to  entangle  the  deer  that  came  to  feed  on  the  fresh 
oak  leaves.  The  cords  were  found  by  the  park-keepers,  and 
the  men  bound  over  to  appear  at  the  next  eyre.  There  was  an 
interval  of  ten  years  before  an  eyre  was  held,  and  meanwhile 
two  of  the  delinquents  had  died.  The  justices,  in  1270,  fined 
the  other  three  half  a  mark  each. 

Two  labourers  in  Duffield  Frith  were  committed,  in  1321,  by 
the  verderers  to  appear  before  the  justices  to  answer  a  charge 
of  having  set  cart-ropes  in  an  opening  in  the  pale  fence  of 
Shottle  park,  with  halters  suspended  in  the  trees  overhead. 
There  is  another  instance  of  a  like  snaring  of  deer,  with  a  cart- 
rope  and  smaller  cart  gear,  at  Weybridge,  Hunts,  in  1455. 

The  venison  indictments  at  the  New  Windsor  eyre  of  1488, 
included  a  charge  against  Thomas  a  Clowe,  of  Clewer,  and 


four  others,  of  having  fixed  halters  (capistra)  and  other  snares 
in  a  place  called  Brodeles,  and  there  with  a  halter  caught, 
suspended,  and  killed  a  doe,  whilst  others  after  a  like  fashion 
had  killed  a  red  deer's  fawn.  They  were  convicted,  and 
ordered  to  appear  before  the  justices  at  Westminster  within 
fifteen  days. 

The  forest  proceedings  at  the  Waltham  swainmotes  of  the 
seventeenth  century  mention  various  devices  then  in  use  in 
Essex  for  the  killing  of  deer,  such  as  "engines  called  wyers, 
engines  made  of  ropes,  withes,  dear-hays,  buckstalls,  and 
tramels,  and  other  nets."  Mr.  Fisher  tells  us  that  one  of  these 
nets,  described  as  a  " thief  net,"  was  baited  with  bottles,  flowers, 
and  looking-glasses  ;  an  apparatus  designed  to  practise  upon 
the  curiosity  of  the  deer.  One  man  was  presented  for  pitch- 
ing halters  about  a  grove;  another  for  "hanging  a  lyne  in 
a  creepe-hole  to  ketch  a  deer." 

Among  the  Cotton  collection  of  the  British  Museum  (Tib. 
A.  vii.),  is  a  fourteenth-century  illuminated  manuscript  called 
The  Pilgrim.  The  pilgrim  meets  with  every  variety  of  tempta- 
tion at  the  hands  of  the  devil.  Entering  a  forest  district,  he  is 
tempted  by  the  Evil  One  to  catch  both  fish  and  game,  and  is 
taught  how  to  net  and  snare  both  river  and  woods.  The 
picture  of  this  incident  (Plate  vm.)  gives  a  realistic  idea  of 
the  commoner  forms  of  deer  snaring. 

CHEMINAGE  and  FENCE  MONTH.  —  It  has  been  disputed 
whether  the  term  "cheminage" — that  is  to  say,  way-leave  or 
passage  through  a  forest  in  return  for  payment — was  ever  used 
apart  from  the  fence  month.  In  particulars  to  be  inquired 
into  by  the  jury  of  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster,  in  the  honour  of 
Pickering,  one  of  the  articles  runs  :— 

"  Whoe    receiveth    the    Chummage     yearlie    within    the    foreste, 
namelie,    a    tax    upon    cartes    and    cariages,    traveylinge    over   the 
foreste  in  fence  moneth,  formerlie  sometimes  xiily.  \\\\d.  per  annum, 
t  sometimes  more  ?  " 

Nevertheless,  at  various  dates,  the  term  "cheminage"  is 
frequently  used  without  any  limitation  to  a  particular  month, 
and  is  perhaps  best  defined  as  a  toll  for  wayfarage  through 
a  forest. 

The  chymynagium   of   Duffield    Frith  pertained  to   Robert 


Ferrers,  Earl  of  Derby,  in  the  reign  of  Stephen.  Henry  II. 
granted  cheminage  throughout  the  whole  forest  of  Pickering 
to  the  burgesses  of  Scarborough,  a  right  confirmed  on  several 
subsequent  occasions. 

The  fourteenth  section  of  the  Charter  of  the  Forest,  1217, 
provided  that  it  was  only  a  forester-of-fee  who  had  a  right  of 
cheminage,  namely,  for  carriage  by  cart  for  the  half-year,  2d., 
and  the  same  for  the  other  half-year  ;  for  a  horse  that  bare 
loads,  \d.  the  half-year.  But  this  fee  was  only  to  be  taken  of 
those  who  came  as  merchants  from  outside  foresters'  bailiwick; 
cheminage  was  not  to  be  taken  for  any  other  carriage  by  cart. 
Those  who  bore  on  their  back  brushwood,  bark,  or  charcoal, 
though  it  was  their  living,  were  to  pay  no  cheminage  to  the 
king's  foresters  unless  they  took  it  in  the  royal  demesne  woods. 

The  confirmation  granted  by  Henry  III.  in  1256,  to  the 
burgesses  of  Scarborough,  stated  that  they  were  to  be  quit  of 
cheminage  throughout  the  whole  forest  of  Pickering,  so  that 
they  might  carry  timber,  brushwood,  turf,  heather,  fern,  and 
all  else  freely,  wherever  and  whenever  they  pleased,  except 
during  the  fence  month.  The  priors  of  Malton  and  of  Ellerton 
established  their  claims  to  be  free  of  any  payment,  great  or 
small,  for  the  passage  of  their  loaded  carts,  wagons,  or  pack- 
saddles  throughout  Pickering  forest.  The  hospital  of  Crick- 
lade  had  a  like  exemption  in  the  Wiltshire  forest  of  Braydon. 

The  fence  month,  or  in  Latin  mensis  vetitus^  which  lasted 
from  fifteen  days  before  Midsummer  to  fifteen  days  after,  was 
the  special  time  when  the  deer  required  quiet  and  protection, 
for  it  was  just  about  the  usual  time  for  fawning.  The  whole 
principle  of  cheminage  was  to  prevent  forest  roads  being  freely 
used,  so  as  to  check  disturbance  of  the  king's  game.  These 
precautions  were  naturally  redoubled  during  this  particular 
season.  In  several  forests  agistment  of  pigs,  and  sometimes 
of  cattle  and  horses,  was  permitted  during  the  fence  month, 
but  in  all  such  cases  the  agistment  fee  was  very  largely 
increased.  So  too  with  cheminage. 

In  certain  forests  the  money  for  way-leave  was  materially 
increased  during  that  month  ;  whilst  in  some  cases,  as  at  Cran- 
borne  Chase  and  in  Pickering  forest  during  its  later  period, 
such  fees  were  only  collected  during  that  time.  It  was  also 
customary  in  some  forest  districts,  as  at  Rockingham,  to  allow 




O       * 


the  different  townships  within  the  forest  to  be  rated  at  a  certain 
sum,  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  their  carts,  for  way-leave 
during  the  prohibited  period.  In  the  stricter  forests  all  passage 
for  carts,  etc.,  was  absolutely  forbidden  to  all  outsiders  in  this 

A  toll  of  4^.  for  every  cart  or  wagon,  and  a  id.  for  every 
packhorse  crossing  over  Harnham  Bridge,  near  Salisbury, 
into  Cranborne  Chase,  was  paid  as  a  check  upon  travelling 
during  the  fence  month,  as  late  as  the  early  part  of  last  century. 
This  toll  was  collected  by  virtue  of  a  warrant  from  Lord  Rivers, 
and  during  the  month  a  pair  of  deer's  antlers  were  fixed  on  the 
bridge  as  a  warning  to  travellers. 

HUNTING  TREATISES. — Twici's  Le  Art  de  Venerie,  written  in 
Norman-French,  is  the  oldest  book  on  hunting  in  England. 
William  Twici  was  huntsman  to  Edward  II.,  and  wrote 
this  short  treatise,  circa  1325,  at  the  end  of  the  reign.  There 
is  a  record  on  the  Close  Rolls  of  July,  1322,  of  Twici  being 
sent  by  the  king  to  the  forests  of  Lancaster  to  take  fat 
venison,  with  a  lardener,  two  berners,  four  ventrers,  a  page, 
twenty  greyhounds,  and  forty  harthounds  ;  the  sheriff  was  to 
pay  Twici  7\d.  a  day  for  his  own  wages,  2d.  a  day  to  each  of 
the  berners  and  ventrers,  id.  a  day  to  the  page,  and  \d.  a  day 
for  each  of  the  hounds.  From  a  later  Close  Roll  entry  we  find 
that  William  Twici  died,  as  a  royal  pensioner,  in  the  abbey  of 
Reading  in  the  spring  of  1328.  It  may  therefore  fairly  be 
assumed  that  he  wrote  his  short  treatise  when  in  retirement  at 
Reading  towards  the  close  of  his  life. 

An  early  English  version  of  this  tract,  wherein  the  name  of 
John  Gyfford  is  associated  with  Twici,  is  among  the  British 
Museum  MSS.  (Cott.  MSS.  Vesp.  B.  xii.).  This  was  privately 
printed  by  the  late  Sir  Henry  Dryden,  Bart.,  in  1843,  with 
introduction,  notes,  and  illustrations,  making  a  book  of  eighty 

The  Master  of  Game,  written  between  1406  and  1413  by  one  of 
Edward  III.'s  grandsons,  Edward,  the  second  Duke  of  York,  is 
a  translation  from  the  French  of  the  celebrated  hunting-book 
Livre  de  Chasse.  The  author  of  this  French  treatise  was  Count 
Gaston  de  Foix,  who  began  to  write  it  on  ist  May,  1387.  Of 
the  thirty-six  chapters  of  The  Master  of  Game,  only  the  last 
three,  and  a  paragraph  at  the  opening  of  the  first  chapter  or 


prologue  are  original.  The  titles  of  the  last  three  chapters 
are  :  (i)  "  How  the  hert  shuld  be  snaryd  with  the  lymer,  and 
ronne  to  and  slayn  with  strength";  (2)  "How  an  hunter 
shuld  seke  and  fynde  the  hare  with  rennyng  houndes,  and  slee 
here  with  strength";  and  (3)  "  Of  the  Ordinaunce  of  the 
maner  of  hundyng  whan  the  king  wil  hunt  in  foreste  or 
parke  for  the  hert  with  bowes,  greyhoundes  and  stable."  It  will 
therefore  be  seen  that,  interesting  as  this  translation  of  a  French 
book  is,  it  throws  but  little,  if  any,  light  on  ordinary  English 
hunting  and  forest  customs,  for  that  which  it  does  state  in  the 
words  of  the  Duke  of  York,  only  applies  to  the  formal  hunting 
of  the  Court  on  a  grand  scale.  It  is  the  lack  of  knowledge  of 
original  and  contemporary  forest  proceedings  in  England  that 
has  led  so  many  writers  astray.  When  purporting  to  write 
about  England,  they  have  really  been  writing  about  France, 
and  the  Continental  customs  relative  to  forests  and  forest 
hunting  differed  as  widely  in  mediaeval  days  from  those  in  use 
in  our  own  country,  as  does  "sport"  in  the  two  countries  at 
the  present  time. 

The  best  manuscript  of  The  Master  of  Game  is  the  one  in 
the  British  Museum  (Cott.  MSS.  Vesp.  B.  xii.),  written  about 
1440.  It  is  from  this  copy  that  several  of  the  illustrations  of 
this  volume  are  taken. 

Prefixed  to  this  manuscript  is  the  English  rendering  of  the 
Twici  tract  (first  printed  in  Wright  and  Halliwell's  Reliquice 
Antiqucc  in  1541),  whilst  the  two  opening  folios  contain  the 
following  rhymes,  the  work  of  the  fifteenth-century  tran- 
scriber, which  are  rendered  more  valuable  by  the  three  small 
groups  of  wild  animals  of  English  forests,  here  reproduced  :— 

Alle  suche  dysport  as  voydith  ydilnesse, 

It  syttyth  every  gentilman  to  knowe, 

For  myrthe  annexed  is  to  gentilnesse, 

Qwerfore  among-  alle  othyr  as  y  trowe 

To  knowe  the  crafte  of  hontyng,  and  to  blowe 

As  thys  book  shall  witnesse  is  one  the  beste, 

For  it  is  holsum,  plesaunt,  and  honest. 

And  for  to  settle  yonge  hunterys  in  the  way, 

To  venery  y  caste  me  fyrst  to  go, 

Of  wheche  iiij  bestis  be  that  is  to  say, 

The  hare,  the  herte,  the  wulfhe,  the  wylde  boor  also, 

Of  venery  for  sothe  there  be  no  moe  ; 

And  so  it  shewith  here  in  porteteure 

Where  every  best  is  set  in  hys  figure. 


And  ther  ben  othyr  bestis  v  of  chase, 

The  buk  the  first,  the  do  the  secunde, 

The  fox  the  thryde,  whiche  ofte  hath  hard  grace, 

The  forthe  the  martyn,  and  the  last  the  Roo. 

And  sothe  to  say  there  be  no  mo  of  tho. 

And  cause  why,  that  men  shulde  the  more  be  sur' 

They  shewen  here  also  in  portreture. 

Is  this  like  as  lecteture  put  thyngf  in  mende 

Of  lerned  men  ryghte  so  a  peyntyde  fygure, 

Rememberyth  men  unlernyd  in  his  kende  ; 

And  in  wryghtyng-  for  soothe  the  same  I  fynde. 

Therfore,  sith  lerned  may  lerne  in  this  book 

Be  ymag'es  shal  the  lewd  if  he  wole  look. 

And  iij  othyr  bestis  ben  of  gret  disport 

That  ben  neyther  01  venery  ne  chace. 

In  huntynge  ofte  thti  doe  gret  comfort, 

As  aftir  ye  shal  here  in  othyr  place. 

The  grey  is  one  therof  with  hyse  slepy  pace, 

The  cat  an  othyr,  the  otre  one  also, 

Now  rede  this  book,  and  ye  shal  fynde  yt  so. 

In  the  light  of  these  rhymes  and  their  classification  of  the 
wild  animals,  it  at  once  becomes,  apparent  whence  Manwood 
derived  his  misleading  lists,  so  continuously  cited,  of 
(legal)  beasts  of  the  forest  and  of  the  chase. 

The  four  beasts  of  venery — the  hart,  wolf,  wild  boar,  and  hare 
— were  sylvestres ;  that  is,  they  spent  their  days  in  the  woods  and 
coppices,  and  were  taken  by  what  was  considered  true  hunting, 
being  tracked  and  roused  by  the  lymers  or  lymer  hounds,  and 
afterwards  pursued  by  the  pack  (Plate  ix.). 

But  the  fallow  and  roe  deer,  with  the  fox  and  martin,  were 
beasts  of  chase  ;  that  is,  they  were  campestres,  or  found  in  the 
open  country  by  day,  and  therefore  required  none  of  the 
niceties  of  tracking  and  harbouring  in  the  thickets,  but  were 
roused  straight  away  by  the  packs  of  hounds  (Plate  x.). 

The  third  group,  neither  of  venery  nor  chase,  were  the 
badger,  wild  cat,  and  otter  (Plate  XL). 

The  Boke  of  Saint  Albans  is  the  earliest  English  printed 
treatise  on  hunting.  It  was  first  issued  at  St.  Albans  in  1486. 
The  author,  according  to  the  second  edition,  was  Dame  Julyana 
Bernes.  Two  other  tracts,  the  one  on  hawking  and  the  other 
on  heraldry,  were  published  with  it,  whilst  to  the  second 
edition  (1496)  was  added  a  fourth  tract  on  fishing.  This 
rhymed  account  of  hunting  is  based  partly  on  Twici  and  partly 


on  the  Duke  of  York's  version  of  Livre  de  Chasse  ;  it  possesses 
no  originality. 

The  Noble  Art  of  Venerie  or  Hunting,  by  George  Turbervile, 
of  which  the  first  edition  was  issued  in  1575  and  the  second  in 
1611,  is  almost  a  literal  translation  of  Jacques  du  Fouilloux's 
La  Venerie,  first  printed  in  1560.  The  illustrations  are  also 
identical  with  those  of  the  French  work,  save  for  one  or  two 
exceptions,  and  several  of  them  are  made  to  do  service  more 
than  once  with  different  headings.  The  book  is  only  of  small 
service  as  an  exponent  of  English  hunting  customs. 

Sir  Thomas  Cockayne's  Short  Treatise  of  Hunting  is  a  very 
rare  and  delightful  tract  of  thirty-two  pages,  published  in  1591. 
It  is  most  genuinely  English  throughout,  and  gives  the  writer's 
own  experiences  of  the  different  kinds  of  hunting  then  pre- 
valent. He  recommends  that  roe  deer  should  be  hunted  from 
the  beginning  of  March  till  Whitsuntide. 

The  seventeenth  century  supplied  two  works  of  some 
celebrity  on  the  sport  of  hunting.  That  prolific  writer, 
Gervase  Markam,  brought  out  the  first  edition  of  Country 
Contentments  in  1615,  wherein  hunting  holds  the  foremost 
place.  Before  the  end  of  the  century  this  work  had  passed 
through  fifteen  editions.  The  second  was  The  Gentleman's 
Recreation,  compiled  by  Richard  Blane,  a  literary  hack,  and 
first  issued  in  folio  in  1686.  Its  chief  value  is  in  the  plates, 
which  aptly  illustrate  the  sporting  costume  of  that  period. 

In  the  eighteenth  century  books  and  essays  on  hunting 
multiplied  ;  but  the  one  memorable  production,  first  printed  in 
1781,  was  Beckford's  charming  and  scholarly  work,  Thoughts 
upon  Hunting. 

HUNTING  COSTUMES. — One  of  the  most  valuable  features  of 
Sir  Henry  Dryden's  annotated  Twici  is  the  discussion  on  the 
costume  of  foresters,  huntsmen,  and  their  attendants.  The  plates 
illustrative  of  their  dress  are  borrowed  from  that  rare  little 
treatise.  Royalty  and  the  nobility  hunted  on  horseback,  wear- 
ing their  usual  riding  dress,  as  is  evidenced  by  a  great  variety 
of  illuminated  manuscripts.  The  king's  huntsman  was  also 
usually  mounted,  and  there  was  generally  one  riding  forester 
to  each  forest ;  but  the  ordinary  class  of  huntsmen,  berners, 
varlets,  etc.,  were  on  foot.  In  the  thirteenth  century  they  are 
generally  represented  (p.  182)  as  wearing  close-fitting  caps, 





and  tied  under  the  chin  ;  they  were  probably  of  leather,  not  of 
cloth,  as  suggested  by  Sir  Henry  Dryden.  Their  long  loose 
robes  seem  unsuitable  for  active  work,  but  they  were  perhaps 
more  closely  girt  for  action  than  artists  cared,  with  an  eye  for 
flowing  lines,  to  represent  them.  The  foremost,  with  horse, 
represents  the  huntsman,  and  his  attendants  carry  respectively 
a  boar-spear  and  a  long-bow. 

The  two  figures  of  the  fourteenth  century  (p.  238)  are  taken 
from  the  representation  in  Stothard's  Monumental  Effigies 
of  the  highly  interesting  wall-painting,  now  almost  obliterated, 
at  the  back  of  the  canopied  recess  over  Sir  Oliver  Ingham's 
tomb  at  Ingham  church,  Norfolk.  He  died  in  1344.  Both 
figures  wear  cowls,  or  caps  and  short  capes  in  one.  In 
shape  they  resemble  the  camail  in  armour  of  that  period  ;  and 
they  were  probably  of  cloth,  as  they  were  coloured  green  in  the 
painting.  The  short  jupon  of  the  figures  on  the  left,  also 
coloured  green,  is  open  at  the  sides  to  the  hips,  where  a  few 
buttons  close  the  upper  part  of  the  slit.  The  legs  were  grey  in 
the  painting,  and  were  probably  worsted  trunk-hose.  The 
brass-studded  bawdrick  was  of  red  leather.  Four  arrows  show 
from  a  quiver  worn  at  the  back,  and  the  long-bow  is  held  in 
the  left  hand.  The  attachments  of  the  horn  to  the  bawdrick 
and  of  the  quiver  to  the  body  is  not  shown,  and  had  probably 
disappeared  when  the  drawing  was  made.  The  figure  on  the 
right,  in  the  act  of  stringing  his  bow,  is  attired  after  much  the 
same  fashion,  but  he  wears  a  longer  coat  buttoned  down  the 
breast,  also  painted  green,  and  round  the  waist  is  a  brown 
leather  quiver  belt. 

The  fourteenth-century  figures  on  page  55  are  taken  from 
an  illustration  in  the  Phillipps  MSS.  copy  of  Gaston  de  Foix, 
and  show  a  considerable  similarity  between  the  hunting  cos- 
tume of  England  and  France.  Figure  i  in  this  picture,  having 
unharboured  a  buck,  has  coiled  the  lymer's  cord  round  his  arm ; 
a  white  leather  scrip  or  bag  is  attached  to  a  black  belt ;  the  coat 
is  green,  and  the  camail  and  stockings  red.  Figure  2  is  a 
berner,  dressed  much  the  same  as  the  harbourer,  but  having 
wide  sleeves  to  his  coat.  Figure  3  represents  a  berner  or  har- 
bourer on  his  walks  in  the  wood  with  lymer  and  cord  ;  his  coat 
is  green,  and  his  red  cowl  has  a  dagged  ornamental  appen- 


At  Newland,  Gloucestershire,  is  the  defaced  fifteenth-century 
coarse  stone  effigy  of  Jenkin  Wyrall,  forester-of-fee  in  Dean 
forest,  who  died  in  1457. 

The  two  illustrations  given  of  this  tomb  show  the  forester 
wearing  a  peculiar  loose  cap,  folded  in  plaits  and  knotted 
at  the  top.  He  wears  a  loose  frock  or  jupon,  with  full  sleeves 
and  a  short  skirt,  trunk-hose,  and  low  boots.  The  horn  on 
the  right  side  is  small,  whilst  on  the  left  side  is  slung,  by 
double  straps,  a  short  hanger  or  hunting  sword.  His  feet 
appropriately  rest  on  a  brache  or  hound. 

Sir  Henry  Dryden  was  mistaken  in  considering  this  "the 

;  Ijjtljt  -Junk  nujjralu  )omcr  •  of  act  :th(iiubprI);oyJtfcb:.oT\;t|)( 


only  effigy  of  a  forester  in  hunting  costume  in  England." 
In  the  church  of  Skegby,  near  Mansfield,  is  the  fourteenth-cen- 
tury stone  effigy  of  one  who  must  have  been  a  forester-of-fee  or 
some  forest  minister  of  Sherwood  forest.  The  photographic 
plate  (No.  xix.)  gives  a  vivid  picture  of  his  dress.  He  wears  a 
close-fitting  cap,  probably  of  leather  ;  the  tight-fitting  sleeves 
of  his  inner  jerkin  show  at  the  wrists  through  the  short  hanging 
sleeves  of  the  outer  garment,  and  over  it  he  wears  a  tippet  that 
had  doubtless  a  cowl  at  the  back.  A  hunter's  horn  hangs  at 
the  right  side,  suspended  from  a  strap  over  the  left  shoulder. 
The  feet  rest  on  a  hound. 

The  quaint  figures  on  page  89  are  drawn  from  scenes  in 
pargeting  work  on  the  George  Inn,   Forster's  (or  Forester's) 


Booth,  Northumberland,  dated  1637,  on  the  edge  of  the  old 
forest  of  Whittlewood.  The  man  in  front  with  a  spear  is  lead- 
ing a  fox  by  a  chain  which  his  greyhound  has  caught,  whilst 
the  dog  is  coursing  a  hare.  The  other  man  is  blowing  the 
mort  at  the  capture  of  a  hart  by  a  brache.  The  dress  may  be 
left  to  speak  for  itself.  Unlike  the  other  figures  illustrated, 
both  men  wear  leather  gauntlets. 



AFTER  the  end  of  the  glacial  period,  the  first  of  the  trees 
to  obtain  firm  lodgment  in  the  soil  would  be  the  hardiest 
kinds,  such  as  the  birch,  elder,  aspen,  and  willow,  to- 
gether with  the  more  sturdy  shrubs,  such  as  the  holly,  juniper, 
blackthorn,  whitethorn,  and  gorse.  As  time  advanced,  the 
more  gregarious  kinds,  such  as  the  oak  and  hazel,  so  abundant 
among  the  fossil  flora,  would  follow  ;  whilst  other  trees,  such 
as  the  beech,  ash,  hornbeam,  and  sycamore  would  gain  foot- 
hold in  their  respective  localities.  Most  of  the  other  trees  that 
have  been  for  many  centuries  of  common  occurrence  in  this 
country,  such  as  the  English  elm,  sweet  chestnut,  lime,  and 
poplar,  were  introduced  during  the  Roman  occupation. 

Our  earliest  known  forest  laws  paid  great  attention  to  the 
preservation  of  timber,  more  especially  lest  their  destruction 
or  the  disturbance  of  the  woods  should  be  prejudicial  to  the 
king's  game.  The  forest  law  attributed  to  Canute  states  that 
anyone  touching  wood  or  underwood  in  a  royal  forest,  without 
the  licence  of  the  forest  ministers,  was  to  be  held  guilty  of  a 
breach  of  the  chase.  Anyone  cutting  an  oak  or  other  tree 
that  bore  fruit  for  the  deer  was  to  pay  2os.  to  the  king  in 

Henry  II.,  by  the  Assize  of  Woodstock,  ordained  that 
foresters  were  to  be  held  responsible  for  the  destruction  of 
demesne  woods.  The  sale  of  any  of  the  king's  wood  without 
warrant  was  prohibited. 

In  most  forests,  tenants,  as  well  as  privileged  persons  in  the 
vicinity,  had  limited  rights  to  housebote,  haybote,  and  firebote, 
or  to  one  or  more  of  these  privileges  ;  that  is  to  say,  wood 



necessary  for  maintaining  their  houses,  mending  their  hedges, 
and  supplying  their  hearths  and  ovens  with  fuel.  Thus,  in 
addition  to  the  claims  of  ordinary  tenants,  the  abbot  of  Darley, 
the  parson  of  Duffield,  the  parson  of  Mugginton,  the  heirs  of 
Peter  Nevill,  the  heirs  of  Cardell,  the  heirs  of  Bradburn,  the 
heirs  of  Kniveton  of  Mercaston,  the  heirs  of  Bradshaw,  and 
the  heirs  of  four  other  families  all  claimed  and  used  the  liberty 
of  having  housebote,  haybote,  and  firebote  in  Duffield  Frith. 

With  regard  to  the  question  of  the  vert  of  the  forest,  some- 
times called  by  the  picturesque  English  term  of  "  green  hue," 
it  included  all  trees,  whether  bearing  deer  fruit  (such  as  acorns 
and  beech  mast)  or  not,  as  well  as  underwood.  That  which 
grew  in  the  demesne  woods  of  the  king  was,  according  to 
Manwood,  "special  vert,"  and  the  damaging  of  it  was  a 
greater  offence  than  the  interference  with  other  vert  in  private 
woods  within  the  forest ;  but  of  such  distinctions  the  records 
of  the  local  courts  or  eyres  contain  but  little  trace.  In  all 
cases,  however,  the  penalties  were  more  severe  on  those  who 
dwelt  outside  the  forest.  Anyone  using  wagons  to  take  tim- 
ber out  of  demesne  woods  not  only  incurred  a  fine  in  propor- 
tion to  the  value  of  the  timber,  but,  if  the  offence  was  repeated, 
also  forfeited  both  wagon  and  team.  Instances  of  this  are 
cited  in  the  account  of  Pickering  forest. 

In  1287,  as  stated  subsequently  in  chapter  xvi.,  the  justices 
drew  up  special  vert  by-laws  for  Sherwood  forest,  which  are 
of  much  interest  and  precision. 

If  the  regarders  reported  that  a  wood  in  private  hands  had 
been  wasted,  the  Crown  had  a  right  to  take  it  into  its  own 
hands,  provided  the  justices  in  eyre  confirmed  such  present- 
ment. There  are  various  instances  of  the  Crown  seizing  such 
woods  in  the  forest  of  Essex  during  the  reign  of  Edward  I.  ; 
and  in  1323  the  prior  of  Bermondsey  had  his  wood  seized  by 
the  Crown  on  account  of  waste.  Such  woods  were  usually 
redeemed  on  payment  of  substantial  penalties. 

The  connivance  of  forest  officers  in  vert  offences  was 
frequently  brought  before  eyres  by  the  reports  of  the  re- 
garders, notably  in  the  case  of  Pickering. 

The  oak,  as  might  naturally  be  supposed,  was  the  chief 
forest  tree  in  every  part  of  England,  and  its  timber  was  the 
most  valuable.  The  special  grants  of  timber  from  royal 


forests  that  were  so  frequently  made  by  our  kings,  from  John 
to  Edward  III.,  almost  invariably  specify  that  the  wood  was 
oak.  Such  grants  were  largely  made  to  religious  houses,  both 
for  their  conventual  buildings  and  their  churches  ;  they  were 
also  made  from  time  to  time  for  the  repairs  or  the  erection  of 
mills,  bridges,  castles,  and  manor  houses.  The  trunks  of 
these  oaks  were,  for  the  most  part,  sent  whole  to  the  recipients, 
but  occasionally  the  master  forester  had  orders  to  supply  so 
many  rafters,  joists,  tie-beams,  or  other  roof  timber  ready  for 
use,  and  not  infrequently  shingles  ready-trimmed  for  roofing, 
or  trees  suitable  for  such  a  purpose.  The  selection  of  the  trees 
for  timber  purposes  was  usually  left  to  the  master  forester  or 
keeper ;  but  in  some  cases,  particularly  where  a  river  ran 
through  a  forest,  it  was  suggested  in  the  warrant  that  trees 
should  be  felled  which  were  most  convenient  for  carriage. 

Gifts  of  dead  trees  for  firewood  were  fairly  common,  par- 
ticularly to  the  religious  houses,  whilst  a  great  number  of 
monasteries  obtained  chartered  rights  of  sending  carts  into 
the  forest  on  particular  days  or  at  special  seasons  to  obtain 
fuel  for  their  fires  or  ovens. 

Oaks  were  also  the  usual  trees  assigned  as  a  perquisite  to 
the  various  officials  at  the  time  of  holding  an  eyre  ;  and  they 
were  also  the  "fee-trees"  assigned  yearly  to  certain  forest 

When  the  master  forester  of  Duffield  drew  up  his  list  of 
trees  felled  through  divers  orders  of  the  Earl  of  Lancaster  for 
the  year  1313-14,  they  amounted  to  sixteen  oaks  (quercus]  and 
six  robura.  The  precise  meaning  of  robur,  and  in  what  it 
differed  from  quercus^  is  by  no  means  easy  to  ascertain.  The 
two  terms  appear  side  by  side  in  almost  every  old  forest 
account  throughout  England.  Mr.  Turner  gives  an  interest- 
ing dissertation  on  this  (Pleas  of  the  Forest,  147-8),  wherein 
he  cites  many  uses  of  the  word  robur  ;  it  is  there  considered 
that  it  is  equivalent  to  a  pollarded  tree  of  oak  or  any  other 
kind.  A  wider  range  of  references,  and  particularly  those  of 
a  later  date  than  the  thirteenth  century,  would,  we  think, 
qualify  much  that  is  there  stated.  Probably  it  may  usually 
mean  an  oak  which  has  been  pollarded  ;  but  is  it  not  possible 
that  quercus  and  robur,  at  all  events  in  some  forest  rolls,  were 
the  two  indigenous  varieties  of  oak,  sessiliflora  and  pedun- 


culata  ?  The  old  foresters  could  scarcely  have  failed  to  notice 
the  difference  of  their  appearance,  and  particularly  the  decided 
difference  of  texture  in  their  timber.  The  word  "  roer,"  as  an 
English  form  of  robur,  occurs  in  the  later  forest  accounts  of 
Clarendon  and  other  south  of  England  forests,  and  it  will 
therefore  be  adopted  for  subsequent  use  in  these  pages. 

The  sweet  chestnut  (Castanea  vesca)  has  given  rise  to  con- 
siderable and  warm  discussion  as  to  its  claim  to  be  an  indi- 
genous tree.  On  the  whole,  the  soundest  opinion  seems  to  be 
that  it  is  of  foreign  importation  at  an  early  date.  The  oft  cited 
supposed  quotation  from  Fitzstephen,  originated  by  Evelyn, 
alleging  that  there  was  in  his  days  a  great  forest  of  chestnuts 
near  to  London,  turns  out  to  be  an  invention,  for  the  chestnut 
is  not  even  mentioned  in  the  particular  passage.  The  idea 
also,  at  one  time  so  current  and  still  confidently  held  by  a  few, 
that  chestnut  wood  forms  the  roofs  of  many  of  our  oldest 
churches  and  at  Westminster  Hall,  proves  on  examination  to 
be  a  fable.  In  all  these  cases  the  wood  is  in  reality  the  close- 
grained  oak  of  the  sessiliflora  variety. 

There  was,  however,  at  least  one  place  in  England  where 
chestnuts  grew  in  abundance,  and  had  attained  considerable 
size  as  early  as  the  twelfth  century.  This  was  in  the  forest  of 
Dean.  The  tithe  of  chestnuts  in  that  forest  was  granted  by 
Henry  II.  to  the  abbey  of  Flaxley.  This  chestnut  wood  was 
evidently  much  prized  and  esteemed  a  great  rarity.  The  old 
name  for  Flaxley,  as  mentioned  in  the  foundation  charter,  was 
the  valley  of  Castiard,  a  place-name  probably  derived  from  the 
presence  of  the  chestnut  trees.  In  the  regard  of  the  forest  of 
Dean,  taken  in  preparation  for  the  eyre  of  1280,  it  was  pre- 
sented that  the  wood  of  chestnuts  had  much  deteriorated  since 
the  last  eyre  through  the  bad  custody  of  Ralph  Abbenhale,  the 
forester-of-fee  of  the  baily  of  Abbenhale.  The  regarders  found 
there  thirty-four  stumps  of  chestnuts  that  had  recently  been 
felled,  of  which  Robert  de  Clifford,  the  justice,  had  had  two 
for  making  tables. 

There  is  mention  made  in  a  New  Forest  account  roll,  temp. 
Ed.  III.,  of  a  chestnut  wood  (bosco  de  castaneariis}. 

The  lime,  or  linden  tree  (Tilia  Europcea),  is  considered  by 
some  to  be  indigenous  to  England,  whilst  others  regard  it  as 
an  introduction  of  the  Romans.  It  obtains  occasional  and 


interesting  mention  in  forest  proceedings  and  accounts.  It 
was  chiefly  valued,  as  it  is  in  some  parts  at  the  present  day, 
for  its  inner  bark,  which  was  largely  used  for  the  making  of 
mats  and  cordage. 

This  bark  was  termed  bast  or  bass  ;  hassocks  covered  with 
these  bark  strips,  and  fish  mats  are  still  often  called  basses. 
In  Duffield  Frith,  where  the  limes  were  numerous  and  specially 
guarded,  the  regulations  provided  that  "  every  keeper  of  wardes 
shall  have  a  baste  rope  of  them  that  bee  layd  to  basting  when 
the  basting  falls  in  their  office,  and  all  the  wood  that  the 
basters  cut  the  first  day  is  the  keepers,  and  the  residue  that  is 
cut  after  in  common  to  the  king's  tenantes."  By  another 
ordinance,  the  tenants  were  entitled  to  the  small  boughs  of 
linte  or  lime  trees  blown  down  by  the  wind  to  the  value  of  half 
a  load,  and  also  to  "the  linte  in  baisting  time,"  which  was 
common  to  them  after  the  first  day. 

Among  the  claims  made  by  the  tenants  of  Needwood  forest 
was  that  of  "hoar  lynte."  This  was  the  term  used  in  other 
parts,  as  well  as  in  Derbyshire  and  Staffordshire,  for  the  white 
wood  of  the  lime  tree  after  the  basters  had  stripped  it  of  the 
inner  bark. 

In  the  time  of  Philip  and  Mary,  the  parker  and  sub-parker  of 
Redlington  park,  in  the  Rutland-Leicester  forest,  were  pre- 
sented for  felling  three  lime  trees  ("Le  lyneray  trees")  worth 
6s.  8d.  each. 

The  maple  (Acer  campestre)  was  known  under  the  name  of 
arabilis  in  the  earlier  forest  proceedings,  where  it  is  of  fairly 
frequent  occurrence;  but  towards  the  opening  of  the  fourteenth 
century  the  English  word  maple,  in  such  forms  as  "  mappill," 
"  mapull,"  and  "  mapeles,"  begun  to  take  its  place,  and  occurs 
many  times  among  the  smaller  trees  or  undergrowth  in  the 
sixteenth  century. 

The  most  interesting  entry  in  the  receipts  for  Colebrook 
ward,  Duffield  Frith,  for  the  year  1313-14,  is  the  large  sum.  of 
£12  i8s.  6d.  from  the  sale  of  wood  for  making  bowls  (bolas). 
Common  bowls  were  made  of  various  woods,  but  the  beauti- 
fully polished  non-porous  bowls  of  well-marked  maple  wood 
fetched  a  high  price,  and  were  often  strengthened  and  adorned 
with  bands  and  plates  of  silver.  Suitable  wood  for  the  making 
of  these  "masers"  was  doubtless  found  in  Colebrook  ward. 


In  the  hedgerows  of  this  part  of  old  Duffield  forest,  and  in  the 
present  parks  and  woods  of  Alderwasley,  maple  trees  still  grow 
to  an  unusual  size. 

It  is  but  rarely  that  the  maple  is  found  in  England  of  any 
size.  William  Gilpin,  the  author  of  Forest  Scenery ',  says  of  it : 
"The  maple  is  an  uncommon  tree,  though  a  common  bush." 
The  finest  maple  tree  in  the  kingdom  is  the  one  in  Boldre 
churchyard  (Plate  xn.);  it  stands  appropriately  over  Gilpin's 
grave;  he  was  rector  of  Boldre  for  twenty  years,  dying  in  1804. 

The  beech  is  named  with  a  fair  amount  of  frequency  in  forest 
accounts  ;  there  were  beech  woods  of  some  size  in  Windsor, 
Pickering,  Northamptonshire,  and  Clarendon  forests,  and  it  is 
often  named  in  Hampshire  records.  The  Windsor  records 
show  that  beech  was  used  for  shipbuilding  purposes. 

The  birch,  alder,  crab-apple,  hornbeam,  ash,  blackthorn, 
whitethorn,  and  holly  occur  from  time  to  time".  The  hazel  was 
common  everywhere ;  in  Pickering  it  was  sufficiently  abundant 
to  make  the  nut  geld,  or  payments  for  licence  to  gather  nuts, 
an  item  of  some  importance  in  the  forest  accounts.  The  elm  is 
of  very  rare  and  late  occurrence. 

The  dissolution  of  the  monasteries  by  Henry  VIII.  proved 
a  severe  blow  to  the  woods  in  the  forests.  A  large  number  of 
these  woods,  some  in  almost  every  forest,  had  belonged  to  the 
religious  houses.  No  sooner  had  they  passed  to  the  Crown  or 
into  private  hands  than  the  greater  part  of  them  were  cleared 
of  timber.  In  1543  an  Act  for  the  preservation  of  timber  was 
passed,  the  preamble  of  which  laid  emphasis  on  its  great  decay 
and  likelihood  of  scarcity,  as  well  for  building  houses  and 
ships  as  for  firewood.  It  was  enacted  that  in  copse  of  under- 
wood, felled  at  twenty-four  years'  growth,  there  were  to  be  left 
twelve  standrells  or  store  oaks  on  each  acre,  or  in  default  of 
oaks,  so  many  elm,  ash,  or  beech,  etc.  When  cut  under 
fourteen  years'  growth,  the  ground  was  to  be  enclosed  or  pro- 
•tected  for  four  years.  Wood  cut  from  fourteen  to  twenty-four 
years  of  age  was  to  be  enclosed  for  six  years.  Cutting  trees 
on  waste  or  common  lands  was  to  be  punished  by  forfeiting 
6s.  8d.  for  each  felled  tree.  This  and  other  Acts  of  Henry  VIII. 
and  Edward  VI.  were  extended  and  confirmed  by  the  i3th 
of  Elizabeth  cap.  25.  A  later  Elizabethan  Act  provided  for 
the  whipping  of  idle  persons  cutting  or  spoiling  any  wood, 


underwood,  or  standing  trees,  provided  they  could  not  pay 
the  fine. 

Certain  Elizabethan  forest  surveys,  such  as  those  for  Duffield 
Frith,  give  the  fullest  possible  particulars  as  to  forest  timber 
and  undergrowth,  enumerating  every  tree. 

A  survey  of  the  timber  of  the  Lancaster  forests  taken  in 
1587  supplies  much  detailed  information.  Quernmore  forest 
is  described  as  having  a  circuit  of  six  miles.  In  it  was  Easton 
wood  of  six  acres,  set  with  alder,  hazel,  and  whitethorn  of 
forty  years'  growth,  worth  IDS.  the  acre,  and  also  containing 
five  score  small  sapling  for  timber  trees,  worth  $s.  each.  In 
another  wood,  called  New  Kent,  were  forty  dotard  oaks  for 
firewood,  worth  2s.  each  ;  and  forty  small  saplings,  worth  5^. 
each.  Dickson  Carr,  "sundray  besett  with  aller  (alder)  of  an 
evil  growth,"  was  to  be  got  up  and  new  planted.  Details  are 
also  given  of  four  other  small  woods  within  the  park,  and 
there  were  in  addition  140  dotard  oaks,  worth  2s.  each,  stand- 
ing about  in  different  places. 

Full  particulars  are  also  given  of  Quernmore  forest,  outside 
the  park ;  the  largest  wood,  Hollinhead,  was  four  miles  about, 
and  contained  100  saplings,  worth  6s.  8d.  each  ;  on  Rowend 
Hill  were  128  oaks,  worth  'js.  each;  at  Ashpotts  were  alder 
and  hazel  of  twenty  years'  growth,  worth  4^.  an  acre  ;  and  on 
another  hill  212  small  saplings,  at  5^.  each,  etc.  This  timber 
was  reserved  for  the  repair  of  Lancaster  Castle,  and  of  the 
tenants'  houses,  when  they  had  need,  on  the  testimony  of  six 
sworn  men,  and  of  the  fish  garths  and  weirs  on  the  waters  of 
the  Lune.  From  1577  to  1587  eighty  timber  trees  had  been 
supplied  for  the  repair  of  that  castle  at  an  average  value  of 
6s.  8d.  a  tree.  Three  hundred  and  fifty  trees  had  been  used  in 
that  period  for  firebote  and  housebote  of  the  tenants,  eighty 
for  fish  garths  and  weirs,  twenty  for  park  gates  and  dogstakes, 
and  forty  dotard  trees  for  fuel.  A  single  fee-tree,  in  addition 
to  2s.  worth  of  fuel  wood,  was  also  granted  yearly  to  the 
auditor,  receiver,  surveyor,  head  steward,  clerk  of  the  court, 
woodward,  and  axebearer. 

In  Wyersdale,  this  survey  shows  that  there  were  a  good 
many  ash  and  birch  trees,  as  well  as  holly,  alder,  blackthorn, 
and  whitethorn.  The  tenants  were  entitled  to  the  wood  they 
required  for  repairs  on  the  testimony  of  six  sworn  men. 


Spyre,  or  spire,  is  a  word  found  in  some  of  the  later  wood 
accounts  ;  it  denoted  a  young  upstanding  tree,  and  is  still 
occasionally  used  by  woodmen. 

The  term  blestro,  or  blettro,  occurs  frequently  in  earlier  attach- 
ment court  rolls  (e.g.  Plate  in.);  it  means  a  sapling,  usually 
of  oak.  Stubb,  or  stub,  in  like  records,  appears  to  signify  a 
dead  or  decaying  pollarded  tree,  and  not  a  mere  stump. 


THE  later  history  of  the  forests,  in  the  time  of  their  decay, 
is  briefly  treated  of  at  the  close  of  most  of  the  follow- 
ing chapters  that  deal  with  the  different  counties.     But 
there  are  a  few  general  and  particular  statements  relative  to 
the  forests  from  the  time  of  Henry  VIII.  to  George  III.  that  it 
is  found  best  to  cite  in  a  separate  section. 

In  1538-9,  an  interesting  return  was  made  of  all  the  "kinge 
his  game,"  both  red  and  fallow,  north  of  the  Trent,  arranged 
under  counties  and  parks  (Misc.  Bks.  77).  The  parks  of  the 
duchy  are  not  included. 


Bestwood  Park  .  .  700  fallow,  140  red. 

Clypston  Park  .  .  60      ,,          20    ,, 

Grynley  Park  .  .  150       ,, 

Sherwood  Forest  .  .  about  1,000  red. 


Galtres  Forest  .  .  800  fallow. 

Haitfeld  Chase  .  .  700  red. 

Gredling  Park  .  .       60  fallow. 

Pontefract  Park          .  .  434      ,, 

Wakefield  New  Park  .  200      ,, 

Ackworth  Park  .  .        21       ,, 

Rypax  Park   .  .  .       45       ,, 

Eltoftes  Park  .  .        15       ,, 

Wakefield  Old  Park  .       40      ,, 

Conisborough  Park    .  .  440      ,, 

Raskell  Park  .  .  120      ,, 

Bristwick  Park  .  .  160      ,, 

Likenfeld  Park  .  .  429      ,, 



Yorkshire — continued. 

Calton  Park  .  .       30  fallow. 

Wressel  Park  .  .        50  ,, 

Newsome  Park  .  .       72  ,,       17  red. 

Topcliff  Great  Park  .  .     435  ,, 

Topcliff  Little  Park  .  .     247  ,, 

Spofforth  Park  .  175  ,, 

Wensdale  Forest  .  .     610  ,,       60  red. 

Pickering  Forest  .  .      140  ,,       50   ,, 


Teesdale  Forest  .  210  ,,     140  ,, 


Alnwick  Park  and  members  .     500  ,, 

Warkworth  Park  .  no  ,, 


Hurst  Park    .  .  120  ,, 

Sherif  Hutton  .  .     400  ,, 

Temple  Newsom  .  .       go  ,, 

Phipping  Park  .  .       30 


Total  6,352  fallow. 
2,067  red- 

The  ill-judged  attempt  of  Charles  I.  and  his  advisers  to 
reimpose  forest  law  is  treated  of  under  the  respective  forests 
where  the  boldest  efforts  in  this  direction  were  made.  This  was 
particularly  the  case  in  Oxfordshire,  where  an  endeavour  was 
made  to  levy  most  extravagant  penalties.  The  Peak  Forest  is 
an  instance  of  amicable  arrangement  between  the  Crown  and 
the  forests  tenants;  while  Duffield  Frith,  in  the  same  county,  is 
a  striking  instance  of  resistance. 

In  1639,  Charles  I.  issued  the  following  order  for  distribution 
of  fat  venison  to  the  foreign  ambassadors  then  in  England  :  — 

"  Right  trusty  and  wel-beloved  Cozen  and  Counsellor,  we  greet  you 
well.  Whereas  we  have  sent  you  a  schedule  under  our  signe  manuell 
in  which  were  mentioned  such  number  of  deere  of  this  season  as  we 
are  pleased  to  bestow  upon  the  Ambassadors  and  Agents  of  divers 
Princes  residing  with  us,  together  with  the  severall  Parks  and  Walks 
wherein  we  purpose  the  said  Deere  shall  be  killed,  We  will  and 
comand  you  forthwith  to  cause  your  severall  warrants  to  be  directed  to 


every  of  the  keepers  of  the  said  Parks  and  Walks,  Authorising  them  to 
kill  and  deliver  the  said  Deer  according  to  our  pleasure  expressed  in 
the  said  Schedule.  And  hereof  ye  are  not  to  fayle,  any  restraint  for 
killing  of  our  Deere  comandment  or  privy  token  given  to  the  con- 
trary notwithstanding.  And  this  our  letter  shall  be  your  sufficient 
warrant  and  discharge  in  that  behalf.  Given  under  our  signet  at  our 
Court  at  Oatlands  the  last  day  of  July  in  the  Fourteenth  yeare 
of  our  reigne.  -CHARLES  R." 

The  schedule  particularises: — Three  bucks  for  the  French 
Ambassador,  from  Hyde  Park,  Woodford  Walk,  and  Windsor 
Great  Park  ;  three  for  the  Venetian  Ambassador,  from  Windsor 
Little  Park,  Bushie  Park,  and  Epping  Walk ;  three  for  the 
States  Ambassador,  from  Theobald  Park  (2)  and  Chingford 
Walk ;  two  for  the  King  of  Spain's  Agent,  from  West  Henalt 
Walk  and  Chappell  Henalt  Walk ;  two  for  the  Queen  of 
Bohemia's  Agent,  from  Lowton  Walk  and  Theobald  Park ; 
two  for  the  Queen  and  Crown  of  Sweden's  Agent,  from  Lowton 
Walk  and  New  Lodge  Walk  in  Essex  Forest ;  two  for  the 
Duke  of  Saxony's  Agent,  from  Enfield  Great  Park  and  Enfield 
Chase  ;  and  two  for  the  Duke  of  Florence's  Agent,  from 
Walthamstow  Walk  and  Enfield  Chase. 

At  the  same  date  the  king  ordered  twenty-two  bucks  and  one 
stag  to  be  sent  to  the  Lord  Mayor,  Aldermen,  and  Recorder  of 
the  City  of  London.  The  bucks  were  mostly  from  the  royal 
parks  round  London,  but  four  came  from  Salcey  Forest  and  one 
from  Grafton  Park  in  Northamptonshire  ;  the  stag  was  from 
the  Great  Park  at  Ampthill. 

The  following  list  of  Christmas  venison  supplied  to  Charles  I. 
in  London  is  the  last  trace  that  we  can  find  of  the  purveying 
of  venison  from  the  forests  at  large  for  the  royal  household. 

"  Venizon  brought  to  Whitehall  against  Christmas  in  anno  1640  for 
ye  expence  of  his  Majestie's  house,  and  issued  out  by  my  Lords  war- 
rants out  of  the  severall  forests,  chaces  and  parks  as  followeth,  viz.  : 


To  Whittle  wood  Forest  .  .  .12 

To  Cheut  Forest  .  .  .  .04 

To  Claringdon  Parke     .  .  .  .08 

To  New  Forest  .  .  .  .12 

To  South  Beare  .  .  .  .02 

To  Salcey  Forest  .  .  .  -03 



To  Rockingham  Forest.  .  .  .24 

To  Holmeby  Parke        .  .  .  .02 

To  Grafton  Parke  .  .  .  .04 

To  Whichwood  Forest  .  .  .  .06 

To  Ampthill  Parke         .  .  .  .04 

To  Alice  Holt  Forest      .  .  .  .     03 

To  Waybridge  Parke     .  .  .  .04 

To  Enfield  Chace  .  .  .  .04 

To  Somersham  Parke  and  Chace  .  .     04 

To  Windsor  Great  Parke  .  .  .02 

To  Higham  Ferrers  Parke         .  .  .02 

To  the  Old  Lodge  Walk  in  Cranborn  Chace  .     02 

To  New  Lodge  Walk  in  Windsor  Forest  .     02 

Totall  .....    104  does 

To  Ampthill        ....       iij  hindes 
To  Loughton  Walke      .  .  .         j  hinde 

To  Egham  Walke          .  .  j  hinde 

Totall  .  ...        5  hindes " 

On  January  i8th,  1641-2,  the  king  issued  his  licence  to  the 
"Noble  French  Lord,  the  Baron  of  Vieville,"  second  son  of 
the  Marquis  of  Vieville,  "to  hunt  and  kill  with  his  hounds  or 
beagles  the  game  of  hares  "  within  all  forests,  chases,  parks, 
and  warrens  this  side  the  Trent,  for  his  recreation. 

On  the  re-establishment  of  the  monarchy,  Charles  II.  took 
various  measures,  not  only  to  preserve  forest  timber,  but  also 
to  restock  several  of  the  royal  forests  with  deer.  He  also 
accepted  various  presents  of  foreign  deer  from  abroad.  In 
1661  ^54  was  paid  to  Harman  Splipting,  "  Mr  of  the  ship 
Angel  Gabriell,"  for  freight  of  stags  from  the  Duke  of  Olden- 
burgh.  A  further  sum  of  £176  8s.  8d.  was  disbursed  for  a 
parcel  of  deer  sent  to  His  Majesty  by  the  Duke  of  Branden- 
burgh.  During  the  same  year  £75  was  paid  in  keepers'  fees,  at 
5^.  per  head,  for  300  deer  presented  to  the  king  by  several 
noblemen  and  others,  and  delivered  at  Windsor  and  Waltham 
forests  and  Enfield  Chase. 

In  1662,  £15  was  paid  for  "keeping  German  deer  at  Wan- 
stead"  during  the  winter ;  and  £42  5.?.  6d.  for  three  new  wagons 
for  moving  deer  and  the  rent  of  a  place  in  which  to  keep  them. 


In  the  same  year  .£18  was  disbursed  for  twelve  "  brasshorns" 
for  the  king's  huntsmen. 

A  brief  undated  account  of  all  the  forests  within  the  Duchy 
of  Lancaster  during  the  reign  of  George  I.  names  the 
following : — 

Lancashire. — Quarnmore,  Blasedale,  and  Wyersdale  ;  "the 
inhabitants  inclose  divers  partes  thereof,  and  doe  therein  what 
seemes  good  to  them." 

Amounderness  ;  the  like. 

"The  parke  of  Myerscough  and  the  Keepership;  lately  granted 
to  Benjamin  Houghton,  Esq.,  during  pleasure;  by  the  same 
grant  he  is  steward  of  the  forest  of  Quarnmore,  and  account- 
able to  the  king  for  the  profits.  The  herbage  of  the  park  of 
Myerscough  leased  to  —  Tildersley,  Esquire." 

Yorkshire. — The  park  of  Ackworth,  granted  with  the  manor 
to  the  city  of  London,  in  which  there  is  a  covenant  for  keeping 
the  park  stored  with  deer,  "near  the  Castle  of  Pontefract, 
which  hath  been  and  was  (4  Charles  I.)  a  most  princely  struc- 
ture," razed  to  the  ground  in  the  civil  wars. 

The  park  of  Pontefract,  leased  to  Robert  Monkton,  Esquire, 
saving  all  great  trees,  etc. 

The  forest  of  Pickering  Castle  and  manor  leased  for  99  years 
to  Mr.  Dallowe,  but  not  the  forest. 

The  forest  of  Knaresborough  ;  large  encroachments. 

Staffordshire. — The  forest  of  Needwood  ;  granted  to  William, 
Duke  of  Devonshire,  William,  Marquis  of  Hartington,  and 
Henry  Lord  Cavendish,  with  the  offices  of  Steward  of  the 
House,  and  Constable  of  the  Castle  of  Tutbury,  Lieutenant  of 
the  Forest,  Master  of  the  Game,  and  Bailiff  of  the  New 

Castlehey  park ;  granted  for  99  years,  in  1677,  to  Henry 
Seymor,  Esquire. 

The  parks  of  Hanbury  and  Tutbury  ;  granted  for  99  years, 
in  1698,  to  Edward  Vernon,  Esq. 

Hylings  and  Russey  parks  ;  granted  for  99  years,  in  1698,  to 
Sir  John  Turton. 

Buckinghamshire.  —  Olney  park  and  Silwood  coppice ; 
granted  to  James  Earl  of  Northampton,  for  99  years,  in  1673. 

Hampshire. — Samborne  or  How  park  ;  granted  in  1663  to 
Mrs.  Mary  Blagge,  widow. 


Wilts. — Braydon  forest ;  part  belongs  to  the  Exchequer  and 
part  to  the  Duchy. 

Middlesex. — The  Chase  of  Enfield  ;  granted  in  1687  to  Lord 
Lisburn  for  50  years,  with  all  the  offices,  from  Master  of  the 
Game  to  Woodwards. 

In  the  early  part  of  the  eighteenth  century  Waltham  Chase, 
Hants,  was  made  notorious  by  the  operations  of  a  gang  of 
deer-stealers,  who  were  known  throughout  the  district  by  the 
name  of  "Waltham  Blacks,"  from  their  custom  of  blacking 
their  faces  for  their  nightly  forays  to  escape  identification. 
Like  the  deer  stealers  of  Cranborne  Chase,  on  the  other  side  of 
the  county,  of  the  same  period,  they  preferred  to  be  known  by 
the  name  of  Hunters,  and  considered  their  actions  fit  to  be 
ranked  among  deeds  of  bravery.  So  strange  was  their  infatua- 
tion that,  as  Gilbert  White  tells  us  in  his  Natural  History  of 
Selborne,  no  young  person  was  allowed  to  be  possessed  of 
either  manhood  or  gallantry  unless  he  was  a  "  hunter."  Their 
recklessness  caused  them  eventually  to  be  joined  by  men 
drawn  from  the  coarser  criminal  classes,  with  the  result  that 
their  hunting  was  not  infrequently  accompanied  by  acts  of 
wanton  violence.  These  crimes  were  met  in  1722  by  an  Act  of 
extreme  severity. 

Although  this  lawless  spirit  originated  and  came  to  a  head  at 
Bishops  Waltham,  in  Hampshire,  more  than  one  gang  of  reck- 
less poachers  and  smugglers,  with  blackened  faces,  styled 
themselves  "Waltham  Blacks,"  and  traversed  the  country, 
especially  the  forest  districts,  robbing  deer  parks  and  fish 
ponds,  and  demanding  money.  They  would  brook  no  opposi- 
tion, and  shot  dead  a  young  keeper  of  Windsor  who  merely 
put  his  head  out  of  a  lodge  window  to  remonstrate.  Sir  John 
Cope,  of  Bramshill,  in  the  north  of  Hampshire,  threatened  two 
men  whom  he  thought  he  recognised  in  daylight  as  belonging 
to  the  gang  with  legal  proceedings,  and  the  next  night  over 
£ve  hundred  of  his  young  plantations  were  cut  down.  Windsor 
suffered  severely  from  these  marauders.  In  the  year  of  the 
passing  of  the  "Black  Act "  over  forty  of  the  gang  were  secured 
in  that  district.  A  special  assize  was  held  at  Reading,  when 
four  of  the  worst  offenders  were  executed  and  hung  in  chains 
in  different  parts  of  the  forest,  and  the  others  were  transported. 

During  the  disturbed  period  of  the  Civil  War,  and  afterwards 


during  the  Commonwealth,  deer-hunting  by  unauthorised 
persons  became  customary  on  Cranborne  Chase,  and  was  sub- 
sequently indulged  in  by  many  of  the  gentlemen  of  the  neigh- 
bourhood as  a  kind  of  "  brave  diversion."  In  the  earlier  part 
of  the  eighteenth  century,  not  a  few  persons  of  good  breeding 
and  birth  thought  it  no  disgrace  to  hunt  or  poach  at  night,  to 
drive  the  deer  into  nets,  and  to  enter  into  fierce  combats  with 
the  keepers.  Hutchins  thus  describes  this  "kind  of  knight- 
errantry  amusement  of  the  most  substantial  gentlemen  of  the 
neighbourhood  "  : — 

"  The  manner  of  this  amusement,  as  it  was  then  called,  was  nearly 
as  follows  :  A  company  of  hunters,  from  four  to  twenty  in  number, 
assembled  in  the  evening,  dressed  in  cap,  jack,  and  quarterstaff,  and 
with  dog's  and  nets.  Having  set  the  watchword  for  the  night,  and 
agreed  whether  to  stand  or  run,  in  case  they  should  meet  the  keepers, 
they  proceed  to  Cranborne  Chase,  set  their  nets  at  such  places  where 
the  deer  are  most  likely  to  run,  then  let  slip  their  dogs,  well-used  to 
the  sport,  to  drive  the  deer  into  the  nets,  a  man  standing  at  each 
end  to  strangle  the  deer  as  soon  as  entangled.  Thus  they  passed 
such  a  portion  of  the  night  as  their  success  induced  them,  sometimes 
bringing  off  six  or  eight  deer,  good  or  bad,  such  as  fell  into  the  net, 
but  generally  of  the  latter  sort,  which  was  a  matter  of  little  import- 
ance to  those  gentlemen  hunters  who  regarded  the  sport,  not  the 
venison.  Frequent  desperate  bloody  battles  took  place  ;  and  in- 
stances have  unfortunately  happened  where  sometimes  keepers,  at 
other  times  hunters,  have  been  killed. " 

A  reproduction  is  given  on  the  opposite  page  of  an  original 
painting,  executed  in  1720,  of  a  group  of  these  hunters  with 
their  bee-hive  caps,  wadded  coats,  quarterstaffs,  and  nets. 
The  person  in  the  centre  is  Mr.  Henry  Good,  of  Bower  Chalk, 
described  as  a  man  "  of  rare  endowments  both  of  body  and 
mind."  It  appears  as  a  frontispiece  to  that  rare  book  Mr. 
Chafin's  Anecdotes  of  Cranborne  Chase  (1818),  where  the  special 
details  of  the  deer-hunter's  equipment  are  thus  described  :— 

"The  cap  was  formed  with  wreaths  of  straw  tightly  bound 
together  with  split  bramble-stalks,  the  workmanship  much  the  same 
as  that  of  the  common  bee-hives.  The  jacks  were  made  of  the 
strongest  canvas,  well  quilted  with  wool  to  guard  against  the  heavy 
blows  of  the  quarterstaff,  weapons  which  were  much  used  in  those 
days,  and  the  management  of  them  requiring  great  dexterity." 


Soon  after  the  "  gentlemen  "  who  indulged  in  "this  rude 
Gothic  amusement"  of  night  poaching  had  had  their  portraits 
taken  in  their  protective  suits,  which  somewhat  resemble  those 
worn  by  American  football  players,  this  kind  of  sport  fell  into 
abeyance  among  those  of  position,  for  the  poor  reason  that  it 
was  patronised  by  the  lower  orders.  Hutchins  shrewdly 
remarks  that  when  this  change  came,  about  1730,  its  votaries 
ceased  to  be  called  deer-hunters,  and  were  known  as  deer- 
stealers.  So  fierce  became  the  affrays  that  the  forester  of  the 
West  Walk  was  killed  in  1738,  and  shortly  afterwards  the  like 
fate  befell  the  forester  or  keeper  of  the  Fernditch  Walk. 

There  was  a  serious  pitched  battle  on  Chettle  Common, 
Cranborne  Chase,  on  the  night  of  December  i6th,  1780, 
between  the  keepers  and  deer-stealers,  the  latter  headed  by  a 
sergeant  of  dragoons,  who  were  then  quartered  at  Blandford. 
One  of  the  dragoon's  hands  was  severed  from  the  arm  by  a 
hanger  of  a  keeper,  whilst  one  of  the  keepers  was  rendered 
permanently  lame  by  the  blow  of  a  swindgel.  In  another 
affray  in  1791  one  of  the  deer-stealers  was  killed  and  ten  were 
taken  prisoners,  and  eventually  transported  for  life. 

The  only  known  relics  of  these  terrible  chase  strifes  are  two 
of  the  straw  caps  and  an  example  of  that  deadly  weapon,  the 
swindgel,  secured  by  the  keepers  from  the  deer-stealers  in  1791. 
They  belong  to  Mr.  Castleman,  of  Chettle  Lodge,  and  were 
specially  photographed  for  the  Reliquary  (N.  S.  i.,  241),  in 

The  two  straw  caps  or  helmets,  shown  on  Plate  xin.,  are 
painted  dark  green  to  hinder  their  being  noticeable  at  night- 
fall. The  lining  is  thickly  stuffed  with  wool.  The  longer  arm 
of  the  swindgel  is  14  in.  long,  whilst  the  shorter  arm  is  only 
6  in.,  but  has  a  circumference  in  the  widest  part  of  4!  in.  The 
total  weight  is  i  Ib.  2  oz.  ;  it  is  made  of  a  hard,  close-grained 
wood.  The  swivelled  hinges  are  of  iron,  and  there  is  a  leathern 
handle-loop  to  go  round  the  wrist. 

Towards  the  close  of  the  eighteenth  century  increased  atten- 
tion was  given  to  the  importance  of  forests  as  yielding  timber 
for  the  maintenance  of  the  Navy.  Commissioners  were  ap- 
pointed to  inquire  into  the  state  and  condition  of  the  woods 
and  forests  belonging  to  the  Crown.  Between  1787  and  1793 
they  issued  seventeen  reports.  The  first  two  reports,  as  well 


as  the  fourth,  the  eleventh,  the  twelfth,  the  sixteenth,  and  the 
seventeenth,  are  of  a  general  character.  The  third  deals  with 
the  Forest  of  Dean,  the  fifth  with  the  New  Forest,  the  sixth  with 
forests  of  Alice  Holt  and  Woolmer,  the  seventh  with  Salcey,  the 
eighth  with  Whittlewood,  the  ninth  with  Rockingham,  the  tenth 
with  Wichwood,  the  thirteenth  with  Bere,  the  fourteenth  with 
Sherwood,  and  the  fifteenth  with  Waltham  in  Essex. 

A  Descriptive  List  of  the  Deer  Parks  and  Paddocks  of 'England ', 
by  Mr.  Joseph  Whitaker,  was  published  in  1892.  The  number 
of  red  or  fallow  deer,  or  both,  in  each  enclosure,  with  the 
acreage,  is  set  forth  in  each  case,  with  other  particulars  of  the 
more  interesting  examples.  They  vary  in  size  from  4,000 
acres  at  Savernake  to  a  single  acre  at  Bagnall  House.  The 
beautiful  park  of  Savernake,  with  the  open  country  adjoining, 
presents  the  best  picture  of  an  old  English  forest.  Bowood, 
which  used  to  be  an  important  part  of  Clarendon  forest,  is 
another  good  example  of  forest  scenery.  If  the  woods  of  fir 
and  pine  were  removed,  a  great  part  of  the  New  Forest  offers 
much  the  same  features  that  it  did  in  days  of  old.  For  fine 
oaks  the  parks  of  Windsor,  Cornbury,  and  Kedleston  are  pre- 
eminent, whilst  Thoresby  park,  Notts,  is  not  to  be  equalled 
anywhere  for  the  variety  and  beauty  of  its  timber.  Spetchley 
park,  Worcestershire,  is  fenced  with  old  oak  pales,  fastened 
with  oaken  pegs  after  the  original  fashion.  An  ancient  stout 
style  of  oak  deer  fence  is  also  still  maintained  round  Hardwick 
park,  Derbyshire. 

No'fewer  than  fifty  parks  mentioned  in  Mr.  Evelyn  Shirley's 
delightful  Account  of  English  Deer  Parks  have  ceased  to  con- 
tain deer  since  1867,  when  that  work  was  issued. 

The  red  deer  are  still  found  in  a  wild  state  in  Devon  and 
Somerset,  on  Exmoor  forest  and  its  confines.  The  growth  of 
popularity  attached  to  the  hunting  during  the  last  half-century 
has  materially  added  to  their  preservation  and  increase.  There 
«re  also  a  few  red  deer  on  Martendale  Fell,  Westmoreland. 

Fallow  deer  still  run  wild  in  the  New  Forest  and  Epping 
forest,  and  a  few  stray  deer  are  sometimes  noticed  in  the 
woodlands  of  old  Rockingham  forest.  It  is  a  disputed  point 
whether  these  last  are  a  remnant  of  the  old  herds,  or  escapes 
from  neighbouring  parks. 

The  roe  deer,  though  few  in   number  and  decreasing,  may 


yet  be  found  in  parts  of  Cumberland,  Durham,  and  Northum- 
berland ;  whilst  in  certain  of  the  wooded  combes  on  the  Milton 
side  of  the  vale  of  Blackmore,  Dorset,  they  roam  freely  about 
under  the  protection  of  the  landowners.  They  were  introduced 
at  Milton  about  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

In  1884,  six  of  the  Milton  roe  deer  were  caught  and  trans- 
ported to  Epping  forest,  in  an  endeavour  to  stock  that  district. 
A  little  later,  Mr.  E.  N.  Buxton  obtained  eight  more  roe  deer 
from  the  same  district ;  they  have  slightly  increased,  and  are 
supposed  now  to  number  about  twenty-five. 

A  few  of  these  Milton  deer  have  of  recent  years  made  their 
way  into  the  New  Forest ;  they  were  first  observed  there  about 
1870,  but  they  do  not  number  more  than  a  dozen. 




NEARLY  in  the  centre  of  the  county  of  Northumberland 
stands  the  picturesque  little  town  of  Rothbury,  "almost 
startling,  from  the  beauty  of  its  situation."    The  parish, 
which  is  over  thirty  miles  in  circuit,  was  once  all  forest  land  ; 
by  far  the  greater  part  of  it  is  much  as  it  was  in  the  days  of 
mediaeval    England,   consisting   chiefly  of  wild,    uncultivated 

The  maps  still  mark  the  tracts  above  and  below  the  town 
as  North  Forest  and  South  Forest.  Many  a  writer  on  North- 
umberland, even  some  well-informed  ones  of  recent  times,  have 
tried  to  realise  how  different  this  district  must  have  looked 
when  "clothed  with  trees  and  underwood."  But,  for  the 
most  part,  this  never  was  and  never  could  have  been  the  case 
with  Rothbury  forest  of  historic  days.  Nevertheless,  the 
actual  valley  of  the  Coquet  was,  beyond  doubt,  far  more 
closely  wooded  in  early  days  than  it  is  at  the  present  time  ; 
indeed,  etymologists  tell  us  that  the  very  meaning  of  Rothbury 
is  "the  town  in  the  clearing." 

Some  twelve  miles  north-east  of  Rothbury  lies  the  celebrated 
little  town  of  Alnwick,  on  the  Alne,  which  was  also  surrounded 
by  a  tract  of  country  under  forest  law  in  the  twelfth  and 
thirteenth  centuries.  The  rolls  of  an  eyre  held  at  Newcastle 
in  1286,  show  that  there  were  three  bailiwicks  in  the  forest 
of  Northumberland ;  one  to  the  south  of  Rothbury  and 
the  Coquet,  another  to  the  north  of  Rothbury  between  the 
Coquet  and  the  Alne,  and  a  third  immediately  to  the  north  of 
the  Alne.  There  were  four  verderers  to  each  bailiwick. 



The  forest  of  Northumberland  is  repeatedly  mentioned  in 
the  Patent  and  Close  Rolls  of  Henry  III.,  at  times  when  there 
were  general  directions  as  to  the  forests  at  large.  Thus  in  1222, 
when  orders  were  given  to  the  sheriffs,  verderers,  and  foresters 
throughout  England  as  to  the  woodfall  after  the  great  storm, 
Daniel  de  Newcastle  received  particular  instructions  as  warden 
of  the  forest  of  Northumberland. 

When  forest  perambulations  were  being  undertaken  in  1225, 
the  duty  of  surveying  the  Northumberland  forest  was  assigned 
to  Roger  de  Morlay  and  Roger  Bertram,  with  Nicholas  de 
Hudham  as  clerk.  In  January,  1229,  the  sheriff,  foresters, 
and  regarders  were  instructed  to  make  a  regard  before  the  end 
of  the  octave  of  the  ensuing  Easter,  preparatory  to  the  holding 
of  an  eyre  by  the  justices. 

In  1281  a  scheme  for  the  disafforesting  of  Northumberland 
was  drawn  up.  The  inhabitants  of  the  forest  district  were  to 
pay  an  annual  rental  of  40  marks  to  the  Crown  for  this  privi- 
lege, in  proportion  to  the  value  of  their  lands ;  23  marks  were 
to  be  paid  by  those  north  of  the  Coquet,  and  the  remaining 
17  marks  by  those  to  the  south  of  the  same  river. 

In  February,  1286,  William  de  Vesey,  Thomas  de  Norman- 
vill,  and  Richard  de  Crepping  were  nominated  as  justices  to 
hold  an  eyre  of  the  forest  of  Northumberland,  to  cover  the 
period  from  the  holding  of  the  last  eyre  in  the  reign  of 
Henry  III.  up  to  the  date  of  the  disafforesting. 

The  barony  of  Alnwick  was  held  during  most  of  Edward  I.'s 
reign  by  that  great  palatinate  bishop,  Anthony  Bek,  of  Dur- 
ham. In  1299,  a  special  commission  was  held  to  inquire  into 
the  breaking  of  the  bishop's  parks  and  chase  at  Alnwick, 
where  his  deer  had  been  hunted  and  carried  away,  and  arrows 
drawn  upon  his  parkers,  some  of  whom  were  wounded.  But 
as  the  parks  and  chases  of  this  district  ceased  to  be  under  forest 
law  from  1281,  their  history  must  not  be  pursued  any  further. 

Henry  Algernon  Percy,  the  sixth  Earl  of  Northumberland, 
died  without  issue  in  1537.  The  family  of  his  brother, 
through  the  attainder  of  their  father,  who  had  been  executed 
for  his  support  of  the  Pilgrimage  of  Grace,  were  incapable 
of  succession.  The  earldom,  therefore,  became  extinct,  and 
the  chief  part  of  the  estates  passed  to  the  Crown,  and  thus 
continued  for  twenty  years. 



Although  the  forest  district,  with  its  parks  and  warrens,  did 
not  come  under  forest  law  by  this  reversion  to  the  Crown, 
nevertheless  a  word  or  two  are  admissible  as  to  its  governance 
under  Henry  VIII.  A  survey  that  was  taken  in  August,  1539, 

HUNTING   COSTUME.       SEVENTEENTH   CENTURY.       (See  pp.  66-7.) 

of  Rothbury  and  its  members,  gives  Sir  Cuthbert  Ratcliffe  as 
master  of  the  game  in  the  forests,  chases,  parks,  and  warrens 
of  Alnwick,  and  John  Heeson  as  bow-bearer,  with  many  other 
masters  and  keepers  of  different  parks.  Cuthbert  Carnabie, 
master  of  the  game  in  Warkworth  park,  was  also  constable  of 


Alnwick  Castle,  as  well  as  master  of  the  game.  Among  his 
privileges,  Carnabie  was  entitled  to  as  many  salmon  taken  in 
the  Coquet  as  would  serve  him  for  keeping  his  house  ;  but  he 
had  to  pay  6d.  for  each  salmon,  and  zd.  for  each  "gylse" 
or  young  salmon. 

A  perambulation  of  Rothbury  forest  shows  that  the  master 
of  game  received  £7  a  year  ;  whilst  each  of  the  three  keepers  or 
foresters  received  a  id.  a  day,  in  addition  to  blownwood,  and 
firewood,  together  with  "one  stag  in  summer  and  one  hind  in 
winter  for  the  makyng  of  the  houndes."  The  keepers  of  all  the 
Alnwick  parks  received  ^3  6s.  8d.  a  year,  together  with  two 
horse-gates,  a  buck  in  summer  and  a  doe  in  winter. 

It  may  here,  too,  be  mentioned  that  an  account  of  the  Earl 
of  Northumberland's  parks  and  games  in  this  county,  taken 
early  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.,  shows  that  there  were  in 
Holn  Park  879  deer  ;  in  Cawledge  (or  College)  Park,  586  ;  in 
Warkworth  Park,  150;  and  in  Acklington  Park,  144.  All  of 
these  were  fallow  deer,  but  outside  the  parks,  in  the  unenclosed 
parts  of  Rothbury  forest,  were  153  red  deer.  In  his  other 
parks  in  Cumberland  and  Yorkshire,  the  earl  had  3,659  head 
of  fallow  and  red  deer.  Holn  Park,  on  the  west  side  of  the 
castle  with  the  Alne  running  through  it,  was  at  this  time 
enclosed  within  a  stone  wall,  said  to  be  twenty  miles  in  com- 
pass ;  Cawledge  Park,  to  the  south  of  the  castle,  was  six  miles 
in  compass. 

Queen  Mary  restored  the  barony  and  its  estates,  in  1557,  to 
Thomas  Percy,  reviving  the  earldom,  and  the  old  forest  of 
Northumberland  passed  again  into  a  subject's  hands. 


At  the  time  of  the  Norman  invasion,  the  great  forest  of 
Inglewood  stretched  from  Penrith,  on  the  south  confines  of  the 
county,  to  Carlisle,  about  twenty  miles  to  the  north.  It  is 
described  in  the  Chronicle  of  Lanercost  as  having  been  "a 
goodly  great  forest,  full  of  woods,  red  deer  and  fallow,  wild 
swine,  and  all  manner  of  wild  beasts." 

Reginald  Lacy  obtained  a  grant  from  King  John  in  1203 
for  himself  and  Ada,  his  wife,  daughter  and  co-heir  of  Hugh 
de  Morvill,  of  the  forestership  of  Cumberland.  In  the  follow- 

THE    FOREST   OF   CUMBERLAND         91 

ing  year  he  paid  the  considerable  sum  of  900  marks,  as  well  as 
five  palfreys,  to  have  livery  of  the  property  of  the  said  Ada, 
and  to  enjoy  the  keepership  of  the  forests  of  the  county  in  as 
ample  a  way  as  Hugh  de  Morvill  had  held  it.  Reginald  died  in 
1214,  and  Ada,  his  widow,  gave  a  fine  of  500  marks  for  livery 
of  her  inheritance  including  the  forestership.  The  widow 
married  Thomas  de  Multon,  who  paid  £100  fine  and  one 
palfrey  to  the  Crown,  soon  after  the  accession  of  Henry  III., 
to  hold  the  office  of  forestkeeper  in  right  of  his  wife.  Thomas 
de  Multon,  who  was  frequently  sheriff  of  Cumberland,  died 
in  1240,  and  is  named  as  forest  keeper  in  various  documents, 
such  as  that  generally  issued  after  the  great  storm  of  1222. 
In  1229  Thomas  de  Multon  received  orders  to  supply  Roger 
de  Quincy  with  two  stags  out  of  the  Cumberland  Forest  as  a 
gift  from  the  king.  Two  years  later  Multon  was  instructed  to 
prohibit  the  foresters  from  entertaining  or  affording  hospitality 
to  those  passing  through  the  county  forest. 

Several  manors  within  the  forest  were  granted,  in  1242,  to 
the  kings  of  Scotland  in  satisfaction  of  their  claims  on  the 
northern  counties  of  England,  but  they  were  resumed  at  a  later 
period  by  Edward  I. 

At  an  eyre,  held  in  the  reign  of  Henry  III.,  Robert,  Bishop 
of  Carlisle,  was  fined  the  heavy  sum  of  £6g  6s.  for  depreda- 
tion of  the  herbage  of  Cumberland  Forest ;  but  this  sum  was 
forgiven  to  his  executors  in  the  next  reign. 

With  the  beginning  of  Edward  I.'s  reign,  the  term  Forest  of 
Cumberland  gave  way,  for  the  most  part,  to  the  title  of  Ingle- 
wood  Forest;  but  the  latter  title  had  a  more  restricted  significa- 
tion, as  the  older  county  forest  included  several  manors  be- 
tween the  river  Eden  and  the  parish  of  Alston. 

In  1274  Edward  I.  ordered  an  inquest  to  be  held  whether  or 
no  Alexander,  King  of  Scotland,  and  his  men  of  Penrith  and 
Salkeld  ought  to  have,  and  have  been  accustomed  to  have, 
common  of  pasture  in  any  part  of  the  park  of  Plumpton, 
which  was  enclosed  in  the  time  of  Henry  III.,  and,  if  so, 
within  what  bounds  ;  and  also  to  make  like  inquiry  as  to  the 
King  of  Scotland  and  his  men  having  any  claim  to  housebote 
and  heybote  in  any  part  of  Inglewood  Forest.  Plumpton  Park 
was  disafforested  in  the  time  of  Henry  VIII.  • 

Richard  le  Escat,   one   of   the    Inglewood   foresters,   killed 


William,  son  of  Elias  de  Grenerigg,  in  the  forest  in  1280 ;  but 
he  obtained  a  royal  pardon,  as  it  was  proved  that  William  was 
caught  in  the  act  of  venison  trespass,  and  that  he  was  slain  on 
refusal  to  be  arrested. 

An  eyre  was  held  in  1285.  The  roll  show  that  the  forest  was 
divided  into  three  bailiwicks,  with  twelve  regarders  for  each. 
There  were  twelve  verderers  for  the  whole  forest.  One  of 
the  more  noteworthy  presentments  at  this  eyre,  cited  in  full 
by  Mr.  Turner  in  Forest  Pleas,  was  the  charge  that  Isabel  de 
Clifford,  who  held  the  park  of  Whinfell  in  Westmoreland,  had 
two  deer-leaps  which  were  nuisances  to  the  forest,  one  of  them 
being  only  a  league  from  Inglewood  Forest,  and  the  other 
only  a  league  and  a  half.  The  justices  for  this  eyre  were 
William  de  Vesey,  Thomas  de  Normanvill  and  Richard  de 

William  de  Vesey,  whilst  justice  of  the  forest  beyond  Trent, 
took  to  the  king's  use  in  1289  a  hundred  bucks,  which  he 
delivered  to  Peter  de  Chaumpvent,  steward  of  the  household  ; 
fifty  of  these  bucks  came  from  Inglewood  Forest.  He  received 
a  formal  quittance  for  taking  them  in  September,  1290,  when 
his  son,  John  de  Vesey,  succeeded  him  as  justice  of  the 

Attachment  courts  were  held  in  this  forest,  as  was  customary, 
every  forty-second  day.  There  is  an  Inglewood  attachment 
roll  extant  of  the  year  1293. 

A  commission  was  issued  in  1298  to  inquire,  by  the  oath  of 
foresters  and  verderers  of  Inglewood,  in  the  presence  of 
Robert  de  Clifford,  justice  of  that  forest,  whether  the  abbot  of 
Holmcoltram  had  sufficient  pasture  without  the  forest  launds 
for  his  stud,  draught  oxen,  and  swine,  or  not.  The  abbot 
asserted  that  he  had  chartered  rights  of  common  for  these  pur- 
poses in  all  places  in  the  forest  between  the  rivers  Caldew  and 
Alne.  Certain  of  these  launds  had  recently  been  enclosed,  for 
the  king's  profit,  by  Geoffrey  de  Nevill  and  William  de  Vesey, 
heretofore  justices  of  that  forest. 

Pardon  was  granted  in  January,  1300,  to  John,  Bishop  of 
Carlisle,  and  his  men  for  taking  a  buck  in  this  forest.  In  the 
same  month,  power  was  granted  by  the  Crown  to  Robert  de 
Clifford,  forest  justice,  and  two  others,  to  divide  up  the  king's 
wastes  in  the  wood  of  Allerdale,  within  the  forest  bounds,  into 

THE    FOREST   OF   CUMBERLAND         93 

numbers  of  acres  to  be  held  by  tenants  at  yearly  rental  to  the 
Exchequer  ;  also  to  sell  wood,  green  or  dry,  by  view  of  the 
foresters  and  other  officials. 

Among  the  various  details  pertinent  to  this  forest  on  the 
Patent  Rolls  of  Edward  II.,  the  following  may  be  mentioned. 
John  de  Harbela,  king's  yeoman,  obtained  a  grant,  in  1312,  of 
the  bailiwick  in  the  forest  of  Inglewood,  which  Thomas  de 
Multon  held,  and  which  on  account  of  a  forfeiture  he  had 
incurred,  was  in  the  king's  hands.  Two  years  later  Thomas 
de  Verdon  was  appointed  forester  in  the  place  of  Harbela.  In 
1315  William  de  Dacra  was  appointed  steward  of  this  forest 
by  the  Crown  during  pleasure.  In  the  same  year  a  com- 
mission was  issued  to  inquire  into  the  carrying  away  of  certain 
of  the  king's  falcons  from  the  eyrie  in  the  forest  of  Inglewood. 
Henry  de  Panetria,  at  the  request  of  Queen  Isabella,  was 
granted  for  life,  in  1316,  the  bailiwick  of  the  forestership  of 
"  Gaytsheles,"  in  this  forest.  Grant  was  made,  in  1317,  of 
pasture  for  their  beasts  in  Inglewood  Forest  to  the  nuns  of 
Ermynthwait,  in  consequence  of  the  severe  loss  that  had  been 
inflicted  on  them  by  the  king's  enemies.  John  de  Crumbwell 
was  warden  of  Inglewood  in  1318,  when  acquittance  was 
granted  to  Robert  de  Tymparon,  an  agister  within  the  forest, 
for  .£4  IQS.  ^\d.  for  pannage  from  the  date  of  his  being  an 
agister  in  the  time  of  Edward  I.,  which  sum  had  been  paid 
into  the  hands  of  Robert  de  Barton,  late  keeper  of  the  king's 
victuals  in  the  park  of  Carlisle.  In  the  same  year,  John  de 
Rithre,  king's  yeoman,  was  appointed  steward  of  the  forest 
during  pleasure. 

The  Exchequer  accounts  of  this  reign  give  the  expenses  in- 
curred by  Robert,  the  squire,  for  a  summer  hunt  for  the  king 
in  Inglewood  Forest,  which  lasted  for  four  days.  His  servant 
was  paid  \2d.  a  day,  whilst  an  allowance  of  \d.  a  day  each  was 
made  for  ten  greyhounds  and  for  three  bercelets,  or  hounds 
that  hunted  by  scent. 

When  the  reign  of  Edward  III.  is  reached,  the  record  entries 
relative  to  the  forest  of  Inglewood,  its  records  of  Gaystall  or 
Gatesgill,  and  Penrith,  and  its  launds  of  Plumpton,  Hesket, 
Braithwait,  Ivetanfield,  and  Middlescough,  etc.,  become  so 
frequent  that  a  considerable  and  interesting  volume  on  its 
annals  might  readily  be  compiled.  Here  there  is  only  space 


for  a  few  brief  extracts  from  the  less  known  and  uncalendered 

An  Exchequer  Roll  of  1335-6,  when  Richard  de  Nevill  was 
keeper,  shows  that  the  laund  of  Plumpton,  of  which  Roger  de 
Wastedale  was  the  agister,  charged  6d.  a  head  for  horses,  ^d. 
for  draught  oxen,  3^.  for  cattle,  and  2d.  for  stirks.  Sheep 
were  only  allowed  on  two  or  three  of  the  launds,  and  were 
charged  at  ^d.  a  score.  The  agistments  of  the  year  produced 
£26  i$s.  q.d.  The  letting  of  the  lodges  of  the  forest  brought  in 
29-$-.  8d.  The  ward  of  Penrith  commuted  the  fence  month  fines 
by  a  payment  of  i6.r.  8d.  from  six  townships,  and  the  ward  of 
Gaystall  by  a  payment  of  23^.  8d.  from  fourteen  townships. 
The  pannage  money  was  but  small,  indicating  a  decided 
paucity  of  woods ;  only  g^d.  from  Penrith  ward,  and  6.r.  $^d. 
from  Gaystall  ward.  Among  the  attachments  of  Gaystall 
were  6d.  for  a  horse,  2d.  for  two  stirks,  and  1 2d.  for  pigs. 

There  is  another  very  full  agistment  and  attachment  roll 
of  1375-6,  wherein  there  are  various  fines,  from  id.  to  i2d.,  for 
vert  offences. 

The  accounts  of  Richard,  Earl  of  Salisbury,  for  this  forest, 
in  the  reign  of  Henry  VI.,  are  of  a  good  deal  of  interest.  The 
returns  of  the  frequent  attachment  courts  are  confined  to  vert 
offences  ;  the  fine  for  a  cartload  of  wood  was  usually  2^.,  and  for 
a  wagon  /\d.  The  fence  month  fine  money  in  Gaystall  ward 
was  2O.r.,  contributed  by  twelve  townships,  far  the  heaviest 
share  being  6s.  8^.  from  the  city  of  Carlisle.  The  like  fine  for 
Penrith  ward  amounted  to  13^.  8d.,  of  which  Penrith  it- 
self paid  6s.  8d.  The  dead  wood  of  Gaystall  ward  pro- 
duced iu.,  and  that  of  Penrith  2os.  The  small  amount  of 
actual  wood  within  this  wide  sweep  of  forest  is  again  shown  by 
the  lowness  of  the  pannage  fees,  which  only  amounted  to 
6.r.  o\d.  in  the  two  wards.  References  in  forest  accounts  to 
churches  or  chapels  (save  in  the  matter  of  tithes)  are  quite 
exceptional ;  but  in  these  rolls  certain  rents  of  lands  at 
Grueythwaite  (Greenthwaite)  are  assigned  to  a  chapel  there, 
which  had  recently  been  rebuilt. 

A  survey  of  Inglewood  Forest,  taken  on  8th  August,  1539, 
mentions  Sir  Henry  Wharton  as  master  of  game,  and  William 
Hoton,  Esquire,  as  bow-bearer.  The  officers  in  the  sub-forests 
of  Ashdale  and  Wastedalehead  were  Sir  Thomas  Wharton, 


master  of  game,  Richard  Vikars  and  Thomas  Nycholson, 
foresters  of  Ashdale,  and  William  Fletcher  and  Nicholas 
Hunter,  foresters  of  Wastedalehead.  The  sub-forest  of  West- 
wood  had  the  same  master  of  game,  and  Micah  Avon  bow- 
bearer,  with  Richard  Dykes  and  Thomas  Wilson  keepers. 
The  sub-forest  of  Nicholl  had  Sir  William  Musgrave  as  master 
of  game.  The  keepers  of  Wastedale  had  a  hart  in  summer  and 
a  hind  in  winter,  equally  divided  between  them. 

An  expense  roll  of  this  forest  for  the  first  year  of  Elizabeth  is 
chiefly  occupied  with  the  details  of  repairs  done  to  the  "  court 
houses "  of  Penrith,  Sowerby,  and  Gaystall.  Repairs  were 
also  done  to  the  leads,  and  the  glass  and  iron  of  the  windows 
of  Kidkirk  chancel  at  a  charge  of  £3  6s.  Sd. 

Charles  II.,  on  his  marriage  with  Katharine  of  Braganza, 
settled  on  her,  as  part  of  the  royal  dower,  the  forest  of  Ingle- 

In  1696,  the  forest  of  Inglewood  was  granted  by  the  Crown 
to  William  Bentinck,  first  Earl  of  Portsmouth,  as  an  appurten- 
ance of  the  honor  of  Penrith. 

In  Jefferson's  Cumberland,  published  in  1840,  it  is  stated 
that  the  forest  or  swainmote  courts  for  the  seigniory  of  Hesket 
were  still  held  annually  on  June  nth  in  the  open  air,  on  the 
great  north  road  to  Carlisle,  the  place  being  marked  by  a  stone 
table  placed  before  a  thorn  called  Court  Thorn  ;  at  this  court  a 
variety  of  annual  dues  were  paid  to  the  lord  of  the  forest. 

On  Wragmire  Moss,  in  the  same  parish,  a  well-known 
ancient  oak,  spoken  of  as  the  last  tree  of  Inglewood  Forest,  fell 
''from  sheer  old  age  "  on  June  i3th,  1823. 


A  considerable  tract  of  wild  land  in  this  county  was  rendered 
subject  to  the  fierce  rule  of  the  early  forest  laws  in  the  time  of 
Henry  II.  and  John  ;  but  all  this  was  disafforested  by  the 
Forest  Charter,  1217,  which  only  recognised  as  forests  those 
tracts  of  country  which  had  been  in  that  condition  when 
Henry  II.  came  to  the  throne.  In  1225,  grave  complaint  was 
lodged  by  the  knights  and  proved  men  of  Westmoreland  that 
certain  magnates  of  the  county  were  continuing  to  treat  the 
disafforested  demesne  as  though  still  subject  to  forest  fines 


and  penalties,  to  the  great  injury  of  the  inhabitants.  There- 
upon letters  patent  was  issued  by  the  Crown  sternly  repro- 
bating such  action,  addressed  in  the  first  place  to  William  de 
Lancaster,  Baron  of  Kendal,  with  duplicates  to  Robert  de 
Vezpont,  sheriff  of  Westmoreland,  to  Earl  Warren  for  the 
wood  of  Incelemor,  and  to  Matilda  de  Lascy  for  the  wood  of 

It  was  doubtless  in  consequence  of  this  royal  reminder 
that  John  de  Vezpont,  when  he  succeeded  his  father  three 
years  later,  granted  to  the  lords  of  the  manor  of  Warcop, 
Sandford,  Burton,  and  Hilton,  in  this  county,  freedom  from 
foresters'  puture,  and  from  all  things  that  might  be  demanded 
of  that  nature. 


There  is  no  mention  of  any  forest  of  the  county  of  Durham 
in  the  lists  of  royal  forests  temp.  Henry  III.,  and  there  was 
certainly  no  district  under  forest  laws  throughout  by  far  the 
greater  part  of  Durham.  The  forest  of  Teesdale  is,  however, 
occasionally  named  in  the  latter  part  of  the  fifteenth  and  in  the 
first  half  of  the  sixteenth  century.  The  number  of  fallow  and 
red  deer  in  this  forest  in  1538-9  has  already  been  cited. 

In  the  western  angle  of  the  county,  where  it  is  separated 
from  Yorkshire  on  the  south  by  the  river  Tees,  and  where  it 
reaches  out  to  both  Cumberland  and  Westmoreland,  Durham 
was  in  contiguity  with  forest  districts  of  other  counties,  and 
forest  laws  probably  there  prevailed  over  a  small  area.  An 
extensive  township  of  the  old  widespread  parish  of  Middleton- 
in-Teesdale  still  bears  the  reduplicated  name  of  Forest-and- 
Frith  ;  it  begins  4!  miles  north-west  from  Middleton,  and  ends 
on  the  borders  of  Westmoreland,  near  the  sources  of  the  Tees. 
At  the  furthest  extremity  of  the  wild  district  of  Forest-and- 
Frith  is  Harwood,  the  very  name  denoting  a  tract  of  ancient 
woodland.  Various  of  the  smaller  place-names  and  field  names 
have  reference  to  deer,  and  a  few  to  the  former  presence  of  wolf 
and  boar. 

The  large  parish  of  Stanhope,  immediately  to  the  north  of 
Middleton,  has  a  western  division  termed  Forest  Quarter  ex- 
tending to  the  borders  of  Cumberland,  just  above  Harwood, 
and  including  Weardale.  Leland,  writing  in  the  time  of 



Henry  VIII.,  said:  " There  resorte  many  rede  dere,  stragelers, 
to  the  mountaines  of  Weredale."  The  forest  of  Weardale 
was  held  by  the  Bishops  of  Durham  ;  the 
Boldon  Book,  of  the  twelfth  century,  affords 
many  interesting  particulars  as  to  the  hunt- 
ing regulations  of  the  district,  but  as  it  was 
not  royal  forest  it  would  be  foreign  to  our 
purpose  to  cite  them. 

Whatever  small  portion  of  Durham  may 
at  some  time  have  been  under  forest  law 
could  only  have  attained  that  position 
through  the  overlap  of  some  forest  at  its 
western  extremity,  whose  administration 
pertained  to  another  county. 

In  the  crypt  of  Durham  Cathedral  is  an 
unusually  fine  memorial  slab  of  the  latter 
half  of  the  thirteenth  century,  which  must 
have  marked  the  interment  of  some  chief 
forester  or  warden  of  a  northern  forest. 
On  the  sinister  side  of  the  cross  is  a 
sheathed  sword  with  the  sword  belt  twisted 
round  it.  On  the  dexter  is  a  long  bow- 
string, with  the  arrow  fitted  in  the  notch 
and  the  head  showing  on  the  further  side 
of  the  sword.  On  the  bow  rests  what 
appears  to  be  the  distinctive  cap  of  the 
master  of  the  forest,  whilst  in  the  angle 
above,  between  the  bow  and  the  string,  is 
a  small  paddle-shaped  implement,  which 
may  possibly  indicate  water  or  fishing 



THE  forests  of  Lancashire,  which  were  at  one  time  very 
considerable,  were  chiefly  situated  in  the  high  region  on 
the  east  side  of  the  county.  In  their  earlier  history  they 
may  be  divided  into  two  portions,  namely,  those  in  the  ancient 
house  of  Lancaster,  which  were  subject  soon  after  the  Con- 
quest to  Roger  de  Poictou  ;  and  those  in  the  great  fee  of 
Clitheroe,  subject  at  the  same  time  to  the  family  of  Lacy. 
After  the  marriage  of  Thomas,  Earl  of  Lancaster,  with  Alice 
de  Lacy  in  1310,  all  the  forests  of  the  county  came  under  the 
one  head  of  Foresta  de  Lancaster,  and  pertained  to  the  earldom, 
and  afterwards  to  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster.  But  quite  a  century 
before  this  date  all  the  various  forests  were  frequently  described 
under  the  common  denominator  of  the  county  town.  The  more 
important  forests  were  within  the  hundred  of  Lonsdale  ;  those 
of  Wyersdale,  Quernmoor,  Bleasdale,  Myerscough,  and  Ful- 
wood  were  all  within  the  very  extensive  ancient  parish  of 
Lancaster,  though  the  last  three  were  in  the  hundred  jurisdic- 
tion of  Amounderness.  In  the  hundred  of  Blackburn  was  the 
great  forest  of  Blackburnshire,  of  which  Rossendale,  Bowland, 
Pendle,  and  Trawden  were  the  subdivisions.  In  the  hundred 
of  West  Derby  was  the  forest  of  that  name,  often  termed 
Derbyshire,  with  the  parks  of  Croxteth  and  Toxteth. 

In  Harland's  edition  of  Baines'  Lancashire  (1868-70)  there  is 
a  certain  amount  of  scattered,  meagre  information  pertaining 
to  these  very  considerable  tracts  of  the  county  ;  but  the  history 
of  the  forests  of  Lancashire  remains  yet  to  be  written.  The 
material  available  would  readily  make  an  interesting  work  of 
one  or  two  volumes.  All  that  is  here  attempted  is  to  give  a 
few  scattered  facts  which  have  not  for  the  most  part  hitherto 
appeared  in  print. 


THE    FORESTS   OF    LANCASHIRE         99 

In  the  first  year  of  King  John,  Benedict  Gernet  held  the 
serjeanty  of  the  forest  of  the  whole  county,  for  which  he 
rendered  an  annual  payment  of  £26  13$.  <\d.  In  the  same 
year  (1200)  the  king  granted  leave  by  charter  to  the  knights 
and  freeholders  dwelling  in  his  forest  of  the  honor  of  Lan- 
caster to  use  their  own  woods  as  they  willed,  declaring  them 
exempt  from  the  regard  of  the  forest.  For  these  privileges  the 
knights  and  freeholders  paid  into  the  Exchequer,  in  the  follow- 
ing year,  the  considerable  sum  of  .£283  17^.  In  1206,  John 
conferred  the  keepership  of  the  Lancaster  forests  on  Gilbert 
Fitz-Reinfred,  one  of  his  favourite  barons. 

John  granted  to  the  house  of  the  lepers  of  St.  Leonard's, 
Lancaster,  considerable  privileges  in  the  forest  of  Lonsdale, 
where  they  might  graze  their  beasts,  gather  dead  wood'for  fuel, 
and  have  timber  sufficient  for  the  repairs  of  their  dwellings. 
Some  time  before  1220,  Henry  III.  appointed  Roger  Gernet, 
forester-of-fee  of  Lonsdale,  to  the  general  keepership  ;  in  that 
year  the  lepers  petitioned  the  king  for  relief  from  the  exactions 
of  Gernet,  who  claimed  an  ox  from  them  in  recompense  for 
their  winter  agistment,  and  a  cow  for  the  summer  pasturing  ; 
nor  would  he  allow  them  to  take  wood  for  fuel  or  house  repairs. 

A  writ  was  at  once  directed  to  the  sheriff  of  Lancaster 
instructing  him  to  stay  the  exactions  of  Roger  Gernet,  and 
a  confirmation  charter  was  sent  to  the  lepers,  allowing  all 
their  privileges  without  any  payment  in  money  or  kind.  From 
this  and  from  a  subsequent  slightly  amended  confirmation  we 
learn  that  the  lepers  were  originally  indebted  to  Henry  II.  for 
their  forest  favours,  and  that  John  merely  ratified  his  father's 
grant.  Nine  years  later  the  pasturage  rights  of  the  lepers 
were  restricted  to  a  certain  defined  area  of  the  forest.  In  1227 
Roger  Gernet  was  confirmed  in  the  custody  of  Lancaster 

A  perambulation  of  the  Lancashire  forests  was  undertaken 
in  1228,  on  the  king's  precept,  by  William  Blundel,  Thomas 
de  Bethune,  and  ten  other  knights,  who  said  that  the  whole 
forests  of  Lancaster  ought,  according  to  the  Forest  Charter,  to 
be  disafforested,  save  Quernmore,  Conet,  Bleasdale,  Fulwood, 
Toxteth,  Derby,  and  Burtonwood.  In  the  following  year  a 
confirmation  of  John's  charter  to  the  knights  and  freeholders  of 
Lancaster  was  granted  by  Henry  III.  for  the  enjoyment  of  the 


neighbouring  woods  under  certain  restrictions.  This  was 
probably  done  to  prevent  the  forests  of  Wyersdale  and  Myers- 
cough,  adjoining  the  county  town,  being  disafforested,  as  was 
evidently  the  intention  of  the  inquest  of  1228,  wherein  they 
are  not  named  as  exceptions  to  the  general  disafforesting. 
Wyersdale  forest,  which  took  its  name  from  the  river,  con- 
tained about  20,000  acres  ;  Quernmore,  to  the  north  of  it, 
about  7,000  acres  ;  Myerscough,  about  2,200  acres,  skirted  the 
great  north  road  from  Preston  to  Lancaster ;  whilst  Bleasdale 
was  coextensive  with  the  township  of  that  name. 

By  charter  of  3Oth  June,  1267,  Henry  III.  granted  to  his 
son  Edmund  the  honor  and  castle  of  Lancaster,  together  with 
the  vaccaries  and  forests  of  Wyersdale  and  Lonsdale,  etc.  But 
they  were  to  be  considered  forests,  and  not  chases  of  private 
ownership  ;  and  hence  were  entitled  to  be  ruled  by  forest  pleas 
held  by  the  king's  justices. 

Long  notice  was  given  of  the  rarely  held  eyre  of  justices  for 
forest  pleas,  proposed  to  be  held  for  the  county  of  Lancaster  at 
Easter,  1287.  The  first  summons  was  issued  for  it  in  October, 
1286,  when  it  was  stated  that  the  justices  would  be  William 
de  Vesey,  Thomas  de  Normanvill,  and  Richard  de  Crepping. 
But  this  arrangement  was  subsequently  cancelled.  On  8th 
February  the  sheriff  was  instructed  to  order  a  preliminary 
regard  of  the  forest  to  be  taken,  and  ten  days  later  he  was 
ordered  to  issue  summonses  for  an  eyre  to  be  held  a  month 
after  Easter  before  Robert  Brabazon  and  William  Wyther. 
At  these  pleas  forty-eight  cases  of  venison  trespass  were  pre- 
sented. In  at  least  one  case,  that  of  Nicholas  de  Lee,  the 
chartered  privileges  of  King  John  were  pleaded  in  defence  of 
hunting  in  the  king's  forest. 

There  are  various  records  extant  of  attachment  courts  of  the 
forests  of  Quernmore  and  Wyersdale,  which  were  under  joint 
jurisdiction,  temp.  Edward  I.  The  offences  were  chiefly  venison 
trespass.  The  courts  were  always  held  on  a  Thursday,  and 
presided  over  by  the  two  verderers,  John  le  Gentil  and  John 
de  Caton.  There  are  records  of  eight  courts  held  in  1299,  nine 
in  1300,  and  four  in  1301. 

The  venison  trespasses  for  this  and  other  years  show  that 
there  were  both  fallow  and  red  deer  in  the  Lancaster  forests  of 
this  date,  though  the  latter  were  the  more  numerous,  and  the 

THE    FORESTS   OF    LANCASHIRE       101 

former  more  especially  found  in  parks.  The  foresters  reported 
that  Thomas,  son  of  Adam  de  Berewyk,  clerk,  wounded  at 
night  a  certain  buck  within  the  township  of  Lancaster,  and 
followed  it  up  with  bow  and  arrows,  but  the  deer  escaped  and 
recovered.  Immediately  after  the  deed,  Thomas  entered  into 
the  service  of  certain  magnates  outside  the  county  of  Lan- 
caster. The  foresters  were  ordered  to  try  and  find  and  attach 

On  Thursday,  after  the  feast  of  St.  Katherine,  1293,  a  certain 
buck  was  found  strangled  in  the  forest  of  Claughton.  An 
inquest  was  held,  and  the  jury  found  that  a  certain  white  dog 
— whose  they  knew  not — followed  the  said  buck  from  Quern  - 
more  to  Langlandebroke  ;  that  one  Thomas  de  Harrey,  coming 
that  way,  struck  the  buck  on  the  back  and  broke  its  back  ;  that 
Thomas  immediately  after  fled,  and  they  were  not  able  to  find 
him.  The  flesh  and  horns  of  the  buck  were  given,  in  accord- 
ance with  the  Forest  Charter,  to  the  lepers  of  Lancaster. 

At  a  court  held  at  Easter,  1299,  before  the  verderer,  Ingel- 
ram  de  Gynet,  Roger  de  Croft,  and  many  others  of  the 
Ingelram  family,  were  presented  for  hunting  with  greyhounds 
in  Wyersdale ;  and  Ralph  de  Bray  for  killing  a  doe  with 
arrows  and  carrying  it  off.  The  offenders  were  committed,  to 
use  modern  parlance,  to  the  next  forest  pleas,  but  admitted  to 
bail.  At  Trinity,  in  the  same  year,  the  attachment  court  was 
attended  by  three  foresters  and  twenty-four  sub-foresters  ;  four 
of  the  sub-foresters  held  their  office  by  right  of  service,  and  are 
entered  as  defeodo. 

At  the  court  of  attachment  held  on  Thursday  after  the 
festival  of  St.  Barnabas,  Harry,  the  parker  of  Quernmore, 
swore  that  the  Sunday  after  the  feast  of  St.  Cecilia  he  was  stand- 
ing in  the  park  and  saw  through  the  park  pales  Richard  de 
Thirnum  and  Richard  Cokker  kill  a  doe  and  carry  it  off.  He 
followed  them,  and  shot  arrows  at  them,  so  that  they  fled,  leaving 
the  venison,  which  was  carried  to  Lancaster  Castle.  At  a 
later  court  in  the  same  year  it  was  presented  that  the  foresters 
found  two  men  armed  with  bows  and  arrows  in  the  forest 
of  Quernmore,  and  two  shepherds  with  their  staffs  with  them, 
and  that  all  four  were  taken  prisoners  to  Lancaster. 

In  the  next  few  years  there  were  various  presentments  for 
taking  harts  and  hinds.  In  1306  several  offenders  came  by 


night  with  greyhounds  into  the  park  of  Quernmore,  but  being 
perceived  by  the  foresters  they  fled,  leaving  behind  them  five 
greyhounds.  These  hounds  were  caught  by  the  foresters,  who 
took  them  to  Lancaster  castle. 

Pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  at  Lancaster  on  Monday,  after 
the  feast  of  St.  Peter,  1334,  before  William  le  Blount  and 
Henry  de  Hamburg,  justices  of  the  forest,  assigns  of  Henry, 
Earl  of  Lancaster. 

The  names  of  the  verderers  are  first  entered  on  the  rolls ; 
the  two  for  "  Derbyshire"  (i.e.  West  Derby)  were  Henry  de 
Atherton  de  Ayntre  and  John  de  Gredleye,  but  their  term  of 
office  had  apparently  expired,  for  they  were  removed,  and 
Richard  de  Alvandeley  and  Richard  de  Eltonheved  were 
sworn  to  that  office  in  their  stead. 

Two  new  verderers  were  also  sworn  for  the  forest  or  hundred 
of  Amounderness,  whilst  in  the  hundred  of  Lonsdale  one  of 
the  two  old  verderers  was  removed  and  replaced  by  a  new 

The  names  of  fifteen  foresters  of  Amounderness  and  Lonsdale 
are  entered  on  the  roll,  but  only  three  appeared,  for  the  re- 
mainder had  died  since  the  last  eyre  of  the  justices,  and  there 
was  no  one  to  answer  for  them.  The  three  who  came  said  that 
they  appeared  for  themselves  and  the  other  foresters,  and  that 
they  had  no  rolls  nor  indictments  to  present,  for  the  verderers 
and  their  heirs  kept  such  rolls  in  their  own  possession,  as  they 
were  prepared  to  prove  on  the  oath  of  their  officials. 

The  prior  of  St.  Mary's,  Lancaster,  claimed  two  cartloads 
of  dead  wood  for  fuel  out  of  the  Lancashire  forests,  save  in 
Wyersdale,  on  any  day  he  liked  in  the  year,  and  free  ingress 
and  egress  in  the  forest  for  a  cart  and  two  horses,  or  with  two 
carts  and  four  horses  to  seek  for  wood,  according  to  charter  of 
Edmund,  Earl  of  Lancaster,  1260.  The  prior  also  claimed  tithe 
of  hunting  and  pannage. 

The  burgesses  of  Lancaster  also  made  their  claim  for  fuel 
and  building  wood  under  a  charter  by  Edmund  ;  and  the 
burgesses  of  Preston  made  like  claims  with  regard  to  Fulwood 
forest.  The  various  claims  of  the  abbot  of  Furness  were 
enforced  by  the  production  of  charters  of  John,  Henry  III., 
and  Earl  Edmund,  which  were  duly  enrolled. 

The  tenants  of  the  town  of  Broughton  in  Amounderness 




THE    FORESTS   OF    LANCASHIRE       103 

claimed  to  have,  from  time  immemorial,  common  pasture  in  the 
forest  of  Fulwood  for  all  kinds  of  animals  save  goats  through- 
out the  year,  except  for  six  weeks  during  the  acorn  season 
(pessone),  and  for  the  four  weeks  of  the  fence  or  close  month, 
by  payment  of  icxr.  at  Michaelmas  to  the  honor  of  Lancaster. 
Eventually  it  was  agreed  that  the  tenants  of  Broughton  should 
have  common  pasture  for  their  animals  in  Fulwood  forest, 
save  for  sheep  and  goats,  and  for  pigs,  except  in  the  fence 
month  and  in  the  six  weeks  of  acorns.  The  considerable  sum 
of  ,£14  6.T.  Sd.  was  claimed  as  due  to  the  lord  for  trespasses 
with  animals  in  Fulwood  forest  by  the  men  of  Broughton  up 
to  the  following  Michaelmas  ;  but  this  was  remitted.  Hence- 
forth IO.T.  was  to  be  paid  by  them  at  Michaelmas. 

The  foresters  for  the  hundred  of  Derby  enrolled  at  the 
last  eyre  numbered  twelve,  but  the  first  nine  were  dead, 
and  there  was  no  one  to  represent  them.  The  last  three  names 
were  the  survivors.  They  appeared,  but  said,  like  those  of 
Amounderness  and  Lonsdale,  that  they  had  no  rolls  to  produce, 
as  they  were  always  delivered  to  the  verderers. 

It  was  upwards  of  thirty  years  since  the  last  forest  pleas  had 
been  heard,  and  the  justices  were  only  able  to  obtain  two  of  the 
verderers'  rolls  for  the  intervening  period,  several  having  died 
and  left  neither  heirs  not  executors. 

The  successive  keepers  or  master  foresters  of  West  Derby, 
since  the  last  eyre,  were  also  called  upon  to  lay  their  rolls 
before  the  justices.  But  of  these  documents  they  obtained 
very  few. 

Ralph  de  Monneysilver  had  been  keeper  for  five  years,  and 
died,  leaving  no  heirs  nor  executors  nor  lands  in  the  county. 

Thomas  Banastre  was  keeper  for  seven  years.  On  his 
death,  though  he  had  lands  in  the  county,  no  one  came  to 
restore  the  rolls  ;  but  eventually  Adam  Banastre,  his  relative 
and  heir,  appeared,  and  made  fine  for  the  rolls. 

Richard  de  Hoghton  was  keeper  for  three  years.  On  his 
death  his  son  Richard  eventually  delivered  the  rolls. 

Thomas  Tanner  was  keeper  for  a  year.  On  his  death, 
though  he  had  land  in  the  county,  no  one  restored  the  rolls, 
and  distraint  was  ordered  to  be  made. 

Simon  de  Baldlyston  was  keeper  for  six  years  ;  he  died  in 
1325,  but  no  one  came  with  the  rolls. 


William  Gentil,  who  survived,  was  next  keeper ;  he  restored 
the  rolls. 

Ralph  de  Bikerstach  was  keeper  for  four  years.  On  his 
death  no  one  restored  the  rolls,  and  distraint  was  made  on  his 

Edmund  de  Neville,  who  survived,  had  been  keeper  for 
three  years.  His  rolls  were  burnt  by  the  Scots  and  enemies 
of  the  king  ;  and  he  was  ready  to  make  fine  for  them. 

At  this  iter  there  were  three  separate  juries  sworn  for  Lons- 
dale,  Amounderness,  and  West  Derby,  numbering  respectively 
16,  15,  and  12. 

The  venison  presentments  of  the  Lancashire  forests  were 
numerous.  Thomas  de  Halghton  was  charged  with  hunting 
in  the  park  of  Quernmore  at  Ascensiontide  with  two  grey- 
hounds, one  white  and  one  red,  and  taking  two  bucks. 
Another  charge  specified  the  colour  of  the  greyhounds,  one 
white,  and  the  other  red,  with  a  black  muzzle  (cum  nigro 

The  accounts  of  Henry  de  Hoghton,  master  forester  of 
Blackburnshire,  for  1423,  are  extant.  They  show  under 
Penhull  (Pendle)  that  no  business  was  transacted  that  year 
at  the  woodmote,  held  at  Clitheroe  ;  that  the  court  perquisites 
from  the  woodmotes  held  at  Ightenhill  (otherwise  Bromley) 
amounted  to  12s.  2d.  ;  that  turf,  stone  and  herbage  were  farmed 
at  a  rental  of  26s.  8d.  ;  and  that  14^.  lod.  was  received  for 
escape  of  beasts.  Under  Rossendale,  7^.  yd.  was  received  in 
woodmote  perquisites  held  at  Accrington,  and  $s.  id.  for  per- 
quisites of  halmotes  held  at  the  same  place.  The  woodmotes 
for  Trowden  were  held  at  Colne,  and  other  woodmotes  were 
held  at  Totyngton.  The  total  receipts  of  the  master  forester 
were  £7  is.  nd.  The  expenses,  which  were  chiefly  foresters' 
wages,  amounted  to  £6  2s.  2d.,  leaving  a  balance  for  the  Crown 
of  19.$-.  gd. 

In  the  same  year,  the  collectors  of  Blackburnshire  accounted 
for  the  receipt  of  £130  15-$-.  io\d.  from  farm  rents,  herbage,  etc., 
in  Pendle;  £14  12^.  2d.  from  Rossendale;  ,£23  13$.  $d.  from 
Trowden  ;  £18  $s.  4^.  from  Totyngton  ;  and  £7  i2s.  from 
Hodleston.  The  total  receipts  amounted  to  £263  i6s.  *j\d. 

Henry  de  Hoghton  made  separate  returns  as  master  forester 
of  Bowland,  entered  under  Harrop,  Daxsholt,  and  Chipping 

THE    FORESTS   OF    LANCASHIRE       105 

wards,  in  each  of  which  woodmotes  were  held.  The  receipts 
were  £65  iqs.  4^.  The  heaviest  charge  under  wages  was 
£6  13-s1.  4^.  to  the  steward  of  the  master  forester.  The  parker 
of  Laythegryme  received  6s.  8d.  for  cutting  deer-browse  in  the 
winter,  which  is  said  to  have  been  necessary  that  season.  The 
expenses  of  repairing  the  pales  of  the  forest  and  fencing  the 
bounds  amounted  to  £5  19.9.  lod. 

Sir  John  Stanley,  father  of  Thomas,  first  Lord  Stanley,  was 
appointed  chief  steward  of  Blackburnshire  in  1424.  He  was 
also  made  master  forester  of  Blackburnshire  and  Salfordshire. 
His  accounts  for  the  latter  office  for  1434-5  are  extant,  but  are 
of  a  very  simple  description  ;  they  included  2id.  perquisites  of 
the  woodmotes  held  at  Colne. 

The  rolls  of  Quernmore  and  Wyersdale  are  the  only  ones 
that  we  have  found  which  make  mention  of  a  court  held  in 
a  chapel.  In  1477  two  swainmotes  for  the  Wharmore  division 
were  held  in  the  chapel  of  Wyersdale,  and  another  in  the 
following  year  on  the  feast  of  St.  Wilfrid. 

In  1501  the  Crown  issued  a  series  of  warrants  to  the  Earl  of 
Derby  and  others,  directing  that  "  putre  money"  or  "forester 
fee  "  be  paid  by  the  tenants  to  the  foresters  and  keepers  of  the 
forests  of  Penhull,  Rossingdale,  Acrington,  and  Trowden,  in 
Lancashire,  according  to  the  old  custom  and  use,  as  set  forth 
in  the  account  books  of  the  duchy.  It  was  stated  that  the  old 
records  also  showed  that  the  foresters  had  committed  "divers 
displeasures  and  annoyances  against  the  tenants,  theire  wyfes 
and  servants  in  sundrywise  by  theire  coming  to  theire  houses  for 
theire  meate  and  drink,"  and  that  on  the  tenants'  complaint  the 
duchy  had  agreed  that  the  tenants  should  pay  yearly  £12  13^.  ^d. 
towards  the  foresters'  wage,  in  recompense  for  the  meat  and 
drink  which  was  no  longer  to  be  claimed.  This  composition 
was  paid  yearly  until  1461,  when  for  certain  special  causes 
this  payment  was  put  in  respite  for  a  certain  season.  The  sum 
of  £119  6s.  8d.  had  been  thus  respited.  Stringent  orders  were 
issued  for  the  future  payment  of  this  fee  by  the  tenants. 

A  like  warrant  was  issued  with  regard  to  the  foresters  of 
Holland,  in  Yorkshire,  in  which  case  the  fee  had  not  been  paid 
since  1484,  and  the  sum  respited  amounted  to  £357  14^.  2d. 

Rossendale,  the  largest  of  the  four  great  divisions  of  the 
forest  of  Blackburnshire,  with  an  area  of  upwards  of  thirty 


square  miles,  was  disafforested,  on  the  petition  of  the  inhabi- 
tants, about  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century.  A  decree 
of  the  duchy  for  the  year  1550,  whereby  the  rights  of  a  parish 
church  were  conferred  upon  the  chapel  of  Rossendale,  refers 
to  the  bill  of  supplication  for  the  disafforesting  as  having  been 
performed  forty-four  years  previously,  when  the  Crown  came 
to  the  conclusion  that  the  land  would  be  used  for  good  purpose 
if  the  deer  were  removed.  The  deer  were  accordingly  killed, 
and  the  land  let  out  to  the  inhabitants.  The  decree  of  1550 
states  that  whereas  before  the  disafforesting  there  were  only 
about  twenty  persons  resident  in  the  forest,  the  population  then 
numbered  about  one  thousand  of  all  ages. 

Although  there  was  considerable  disafforesting  in  the  county 
as  early  as  the  end  of  Henry  VII. 's  reign  in  Blackburnshire, 
the  Crown  deer  were  preserved  with  some  strictness  in  other 
parts  of  the  county  palatine  long  after  the  Restoration. 
William  III.,  in  1697,  issued  his  warrant,  countersigned  by 
the  Earl  of  Stamford,  as  chancellor  of  the  duchy,  to  the 
master  foresters,  bow-bearers,  or  keepers  of  the  forests,  chases, 
and  parks  of  Lancashire,  complaining  of  great  destruction  of 
deer,  and  ordering  that  precise  accounts  were  to  be  returned 
yearly  of  the  number  of  deer  killed,  and  on  what  authority,  as 
well  as  of  the  stock  remaining,  etc. 




THIS  forest  district  was  known  in  early  times  as  Pickering 
Lythe  or  Liberty,  for  which  the  term   Pickering  Vale 
seems  to  have  been  almost  an  equivalent  at  the  beginning 
of  the  fourteenth  century.     But  Pickering  Vale  possibly  only 
included   the   cultivated   or   pasturage   portions,   and    not  the 
wastes  of  the  actual  deer  forest.     The  antiquity  of  the  wood- 
land and  stretches  of  the  forest  is  clear,  for  the  silva  of  Domes- 
day was  sixteen  miles  long  and  four  broad,  and  was,  perhaps, 
co-terminous  with  the  whole  soke. 

The  constable  of  the  castle  of  Pickering  was  always  also  the 
keeper  of  the  forest  and  the  steward  of  the  manor.  The  forest 
had  a  great  repute  for  its  wild  boars  about  the  beginning  of  the 
thirteenth  century.  In  1214  Peter  Fitzherbert,  who  was  con- 
stable of  the  castle,  received  orders  from  King  John  to  render 
assistance  to  master  Edward,  the  royal  huntsman,  who  was 
coming  with  his  hounds  to  kill  wild  boars  in  Pickering  Forest, 
and  to  see  that  the  meat  was  well  salted  and  in  safe  custody. 
Later  in  the  same  year  the  king  warned  the  constable  of  the 
coming  of  Wyott,  another  of  his  huntsmen,  with  his  men  and  the 
royal  hounds  for  a  like  purpose.  The  boars  were  to  be  sought 
.in  a  certain  part  of  the  forest  where  the  king  was  wont  to  hunt 
them,  and  Peter  was  again  to  see  that  the  meat  was  well  salted, 
and  the  heads  soaked  in  wine.  The  boar's  head  was  one  of  the 
oldest  standard  dishes  for  an  English  Christmas,  and  as  this 
order  was  given  in  November,  the  wine-soaked  Pickering 
boars'  heads  probably  graced  the  Christmas  board  at  Worcester, 
where  John  kept  that  feast  in  the  year  1214. 



Henry  III.,  in  July,  1225,  sent  letters  to  the  sheriff  of  York- 
shire and  the  constable  of  Scarborough  to  inform  them  that  he 
was  sending  two  of  his  huntsmen,  Master  Guy  and  John  the 
Fool  (le  Fol),  with  hounds  to  take  red  deer  in  Pickering 
forest.  The  sheriff  was  ordered  to  pay  four  marks,  two  for 
the  expenses,  and  two  for  salt  for  preparing  the  venison.  In 
September  the  sheriff  received  further  instructions  to  forward 
to  London,  with  all  speed,  in  good  carts,  the  venison  taken  by 
Guy  and  John  in  Pickering  forest,  there  to  be  delivered  to 
the  safe  custody  of  Odo,  the  goldsmith  of  Westminster,  till 
the  king  had  need  of  it. 

Henry  also  shared  his  father's  love  for  the  boar  flesh  of 
Pickering.  In  1227  the  king,  when  tarrying  at  Stamford,  sent 
Guy  and  John  "Stultus"  to  take  twenty  hinds  and  twelve 
wild  pigs  in  his  forest  of  Pickering,  for  the  king's  own  use. 
In  1231,  when  the  king  was  at  Wallingford,  he  dispatched  his 
huntsmen  to  the  same  forest  to  bring  back  the  large  number  of 
thirty  wild  pigs  and  fifty  hinds ;  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  in 
each  of  these  cases  the  meat  was  to  be  salted. 

The  first  forest  eyre  for  Pickering  of  which  there  is  any 
record,  and  that  only  a  brief  entry  in  the  great  Coucher  Book 
of  the  duchy,  was  held  in  1280.  Edward  granted  his  brother 
Edmund  the  right  of  having  justices  of  the  forest  whenever  the 
king  appointed  such  for  his  own  forests,  and  also  granted  him 
the  fines  and  ransoms  that  might  accrue  from  the  holding  of 
the  eyre. 

Edward  II.  was  at  Pickering  castle  from  8th  August  to 
22nd  of  the  same  month,  in  1323.  Whilst  tarrying  there,  he 
ordered  John  de  Kilvington,  the  keeper,  to  permit  William, 
the  hermit  of  Dal  by,  to  have  pasture  in  the  forest  for  three 
cows,  with  their  issue,  for  three  years ;  William  had  previously 
obtained  the  royal  permit  for  the  pasturing  of  two  cows  for  his 
lifetime,  and  the  present  grant  provided  that  he  should,  in 
addition,  have  pasturage  for  a  third  cow  so  long  as  he  remained 
a  hermit.  But  the  king  had  graver  matters  to  attend  to  whilst 
at  Pickering.  An  inquisition  was  held  by  the  oath  of  the 
foresters,  verderers,  regarders,  and  other  forest  ministers,  in 
addition  to  other  lawful  men,  whereby  it  was  proved  that  over 
two  score  persons,  in  addition  to  many  unknown,  had  com- 
mitted venison  trespasses  in  the  forest  since  the  time  that  it 



THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          109 

came  into  the  king's  hands  through  the  forfeiture  of  the  Earl 
of  Lancaster.  Thomas  of  Lancaster  had  been  executed  at 
Pontefract  after  the  battle  of  Boroughbridge,  in  April,  1322, 
so  that  all  these  offences  had  been  committed  in  about  a  twelve- 
month. The  unsettled  condition  of  the  country,  and  particu- 
larly of  the  Scarborough  and  Whitby  districts,  where  the  earl 
had  numerous  friends  and  allies,  had  doubtless  led  many  to  think 
that  the  forest  laws  could  be  then  infringed  with  impunity. 
Among  the  offenders  were  several  of  position,  such  as  Sir 
John  de  Fauconburg  and  Sir  Robert  Caponn,  who  led  a  large 
company  on  2Qth  June,  with  eight  greyhounds  and  bows  and 
arrows,  and  there  took  a  hart  and  hind,  and  carried  the  venison 
away  to  Skelton  castle.  At  Martinmas,  Sir  Robert  Caponn 
made  another  entry  into  the  same  part  of  the  forest  with  nine 
men,  and  carried  off  three  deer  ;  and  on  a  third  occasion,  a  few 
days  later,  he  came  with  seventeen  unknown  men,  "  for  the 
purpose  of  doing  evil,  but  they  took  nothing."  A  minor 
offender  was  convicted  of  entering  Blandsby  park  and  giving 
the  parker  izd.  and  a  silk  purse  to  say  nothing  about  it. 
The  king  instructed  the  sheriff  to  arrest  all  these  transgressors, 
and  to  deliver  them  to  John  de  Kilvington  to  be  kept  in  prison 
in  Pickering  castle  until  further  orders. 

The  forest  did  not  in  any  way  suffer  from  the  northern  in- 
vasion of  1322,  as  it  was  saved  by  a  war  indemnity.  For  when 
the  Scots  that  year  made  a  bold  foray  into  England,  under 
Robert  Bruce,  and  pillaged  among  other  places  the  abbey  of 
Rievaulx,  which  closely  adjoined  the  liberty  of  Pickering, 
John  Topcliffe,  the  rector  of  Seamer,  and  other  leading  men 
of  the  district,  with  the  assent  of  the  whole  community,  pur- 
chased the  immunity  of  the  vale  and  forest  of  Pickering  from 
the  river  Seven  on  the  west  to  the  sea  on  the  east.  The 
covenant  to  effect  this  was  made  with  Robert  Bruce  on  I3th 
October,  1322,  through  the  Earl  of  Moray,  for  300  marks  to  be 
paid  at  Berwick.  Nicholas  Haldane,  William  Hastings,  and 
John  Manneser,  at  the  request  of  the  whole  community,  gave 
themselves  up  to  Robert  Bruce  at  Rievaulx  on  i7th  October, 
to  sojourn  as  hostages  in  Scotland  until  the  money  was  paid. 
Afterwards  the  men  of  the  community,  although  the  Scots  had 
kept  to  their  bargain,  refused  payment,  and  the  three  Pickering 
hostages  were  still  in  prison  in  Scotland  in  July,  1325. 


During  Edward  II. 's  sojourn  at  Pickering  in  1322  he  gave 
icw.  to  John,  son  of  Ibote,  of  Pickering,  for  following  him 
the  whole  day  when  he  hunted  the  hart  in  Pickering  chase, 
and  also  the  roe  deer. 

The  case  of  Sir  John  Fauconburg's  poaching  came  up  again 
in  the  reign  of  Edward  III.  A  close  letter  to  the  treasurer 
and  barons  of  the  Exchequer,  of  September,  1327,  sets  forth  : 
That  Sir  John  had  shown  the  king,  by  petition  before  him  and 
his  council,  that  Hugh  le  Despencer,  the  younger,  had  lately 
caused  Sir  John  to  be  indicted  at  Pickering,  in  Edward  II.'s 
presence,  for  taking  a  hart  and  a  hind,  and  caused  him  to  be 
kept  in  prison  until  he  had  paid  100  marks  fine,  of  which  sum 
he  paid  10  marks  ;  that  he  prayed  the  king  to  be  released  from 
the  remainder  of  the  fine  as  he  was  indicted  contrary  to  the 
law  of  the  realm  and  of  the  forest ;  that  the  alleged  trespass 
was  made  when  Pickering  forest  was  in  the  king's  hands  by 
reason  of  the  quarrel  with  Thomas  of  Lancaster,  and  it  was 
ordained  in  the  late  Parliament  that  the  king  was  not  to  have 
the  issue  of  lands  of  those  who  were  of  the  said  quarrel ;  and 
further,  that  Sir  John  was  indicted  before  another  than  the 
keeper  of  the  forest,  contrary  to  the  law  and  assize  of  the 
forest.  This  last  ingenious  plea,  namely,  that  Edward  II. 
had  presided  at  the  Pickering  court  in  person,  instead  of  John 
de  Kilvington,  prevailed,  and  the  barons  were  ordered,  if 
they  found  that  Sir  John  had  been  indicted  before  another 
than  the  keeper,  to  remit  the  arrears  of  the  100  marks. 

Pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  at  Pickering  on  6th  October, 
1334,  before  Richard  de  Willoughby,  Robert  de  Hungerford, 
and  John  de  Hanbury,  justices  in  eyre.  The  foresters-of-fee 
of  the  West  ward  were  Sir  William  de  Percy,  who  was  pre- 
sent, and  a  lady  forester,  Petronilla  de  Kynthorp,  who  was 
represented  by  Edmund  de  Hastings  as  her  deputy.  The 
foresters-of-fee  of  the  East  ward,  were  Roger  de  Leicester, 
Hugh  de  Yeland,  and  William  le  Parker.  All  these  had 
several  sub-foresters  under  them.  Sir  Ralph  de  Hastings,  the 
keeper  of  the  whole  forest,  had  seven  foresters  immediately 
under  his  control.  Four  verderers,  thirteen  regarders,  and 
four  agisters  (two  for  each  ward)  were  also  present. 

No  pleas  had  been  held  since  1280,  and  the  verderers,  past 
and  present,  or  their  heirs,  were  bound  to  produce  the  rolls, 

THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          in 

with  vert  and  venison  presentments,  of  their  term  of  office. 
Alexander,  the  son  and  heir  of  Bernard  de  Bergh,  deceased, 
appeared  and  handed  in  his  father's  rolls,  and  the  same 
happened  with  the  sons  of  two  other  deceased  verderers.  In 
two  other  cases  the  sons  put  in  no  appearance,  and  the  sheriff 
was  ordered  to  seize  the  lands  to  compel  attendances  ;  the  sons 
and  heirs  appeared  before  the  court  broke  up,  and  were  fined 
40^.  and  five  marks  respectively.  Two  late  verderers  who  were 
living  appeared  and  produced  their  rolls.  William  Ward, 
late  verderer,  failed  to  appear,  and  writ  was  directed  to  sheriff; 
afterwards  he  appeared,  and  was  fined  half  a  mark  for 
non-appearance  the  first  day,  and  £5  for  non-production  of 
of  his  rolls,  which  he  said  had  been  stolen  from  him,  and  he 
knew  not  where  they  were.  The  successors  of  two  other  late 
verderers  (deceased)  were  fined  ^3  for  non-production  of  their 
predecessors'  rolls. 

It  was  reported  that  Roger  Mansergh,  late  forester-of-fee 
of  the  West  ward,  was  dead,  and  that  Petronilla,  his  daughter 
and  heiress,  came  to  perform  the  duties  of  her  office  and  make 
her  claim  ;  another  forester-of-fee  of  the  East  ward,  Roger 
Bygod,  late  Earl  of  Norfolk,  was  dead,  so  that  the  same  had 
remained  in  the  king's  hands,  and  the  constables  of  the  castle, 
at  their  own  risk,  had  appointed  at  pleasure  Hugh  de  Yeland 
in  his  stead. 

The  rolls  of  those  who  had  been  agisters  since  the  last  eyre 
were  also  put  in,  in  two  cases  by  the  sons  and  heirs  of  those 
who  were  deceased. 

The  constables  of  the  castle,  who  were  also  wardens  of  the 
forest,  were  called  upon  to  present  their  rolls  and  the  muni- 
ments of  the  forest,  since  the  last  eyre  held  fifty-four  years 
ago — they  were  Richard  Skelton,  William  Levere,  and  Adam 
Skelton,  all  dead,  the  order  of  the  court  in  each  case  being, 
"Let  his  successor  appear  and  answer."  Then  came  John 
^Dalton,  a  late  constable,  who  produced  his  rolls.  He  was 
followed  by  John  Kilvington,  who  said  that  during  all  the 
time  he  was  constable,  he  was  appointed,  by  commission  from 
Edward  II.,  warden  of  the  honor,  castle,  and  forest  of  Picker- 
ing, which  was  then  for  certain  reasons  in  the  king's  hands, 
and  that  as  he  had  to  render  his  account  to  the  Exchequer  all  his 
rolls  and  other  forest  documents  were  in  the  king's  treasury, 


so  that  he  could  not  produce  them,  and  he  referred  the  justices 
to  them.  The  late  constable's  statement  was  then  proved 
on  oath  by  forest  ministers,  and  in  order  to  save  time  the 
justices  decided  not  to  send  to  Westminster  to  inspect  the 
returns  and  accounts,  and  contented  themselves  with  fining 
John  the  nominal  sum  of  half  a  mark  for  non-production. 
Thomas  Ugretred  and  Simon  Simeon,  both  short-lived  con- 
stables, did  not  appear  or  send  any  deputies  or  rolls,  and 
writs  were  issued  in  each  case.  Sir  Ralph  Hastings,  the  then 
holder  of  the  office  for  life,  by  appointment  of  Henry,  Earl  of 
Lancaster,  made  due  appearance,  and  produced  his  documents. 

With  regard  to  the  list  of  essoines  before  the  justices,  the 
majority  of  them  were  proved  to  be  dead,  and  therefore  no 
further  proceedings  could  be  taken  in  their  case  or  in  that  of 
their  bail. 

The  list  of  indictments  by  the  foresters  and  verderers  opens 
with  a  case  of  venison  trespass  on  an  exceptionally  large  scale. 
On  23rd  March,  1334,  there  were  gathered  together  at  "  Black- 
hodbrundes "  (probably  Blakey  Moor)  in  the  forest,  a  great 
concourse  of  people  with  greyhounds  and  bows  and  arrows; 
among  them  were  several  of  considerable  position,  such  as 
Nicholas  Meynell  (mentioned  first)  of  Whorley  Castle,  Peter  de 
Manley,  the  younger,  heir  to  Mulgrave,  John  and  William  de 
Percy  of  Kildale,  whilst  other  names  of  distinction,  such  as 
Wyvill  and  Colville,  occur  among  the  forty-two  who  were 

The  sport  probably  assumed  the  form  of  a  great  drive,  for 
forty-three  of  the  red  deer  (another  account  says  sixty-three) 
were  actually  killed.  By  way,  apparently,  of  showing  their 
contempt  for  the  foresters  of  the  Earl  of  Lancaster,  the  sports- 
men, before  they  left  the  forest,  cut  off  nine  of  the  heads  and 
fixed  them  on  stakes  in  the  moor.  Again,  on  26th  May  of  the 
same  year,  Nicholas  Meynell,  with  Peter  de  Manley,  and  some 
others  engaged  in  the  former  fray,  but  in  a  much  smaller 
company,  entered  the  forests  with  bows,  arrows,  and  grey- 
hounds ;  on  this  occasion,  however,  they  had  only  taken  one 
hind  when  the  foresters  came  upon  them,  rescued  the  venison, 
and  carried  it  off  to  Pickering  castle.  The  special  imperti- 
nence of  this  game  trespass  was  that  Edward  III.  had  only 
arrived  at  Pickering  castle  on  a  visit  to  the  Earl  of  Lancaster 

THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          113 

on  the  previous  day.  The  king  tarried  there  till  3oth 
May,  and  the  eyre  that  was  held  a  few  months  later  was 
probably  brought  about  as  the  result  of  this  wholesale  poach- 
ing by  men  of  position. 

None  of  the  transgressors  put  in  an  appearance  before  the 
justices,  and  a  writ  was  directed  to  the  sheriff  to  compel  their 
attendance.  Eventually  certain  of  them  appeared,  were  con- 
victed, imprisoned  in  the  castle,  and  ransomed  on  finding 
pledges  and  paying  fines — Nicholas  Meynell  £13  6^.  8d. ,  Peter 
de  Manley  and  William  Wyvill  £10  each,  Robert  Colville  £6, 
Robert  Staynton  and  two  more  £i  each,  whilst  twenty  others 
were  fined  in  sums  varying  from  13$.  4^.  to  5^.  Three  more 
appeared  later  before  the  justices  at  Hackness,  and  were  im- 
prisoned and  ransomed  ;  the  rest  did  not  appear,  and  as  the 
sheriff  failed  to  find  them,  and  they  had  no  goods  in  his  baili- 
wick, they  were  outlawed. 

Sir  Ralph  Hastings,  the  then  constable  and  keeper,  was 
himself  charged  with  venison  trespass  in  1327,  but  he  produced 
a  pardon  from  the  Earl  of  Lancaster,  dated  I3th  August,  1334. 

Another  trespasser  who  produced  a  pardon  was  Edmund 
Hastings,  who,  with  certain  of  his  household,  hunted  a  hare 
by  night  on  Midsummer  Eve,  1316,  and  carried  it  home  to 
Roxby.  Edmund  appeared  and  produced  a  pardon  signed  by 
Thomas,  Earl  of  Lancaster,  soon  after  the  offence,  as  well  as 
from  his  nephew  Henry,  the  present  earl. 

A  considerable  proportion  of  the  venison  trespassers  were 
men  of  good  family,  such  as  Moryns,  Acclams,  and  Boyntons, 
in  addition  to  those  already  named. 

Here,  as  elsewhere,  a  certain  number  of  the  secular  clergy 
were  found  to  be  culprits.  Walter  Wirksall,  chaplain  of 
Westerdale,  was  convicted  of  twice  joining  a  poaching  party 
in  1328,  and  was  fined  £1  6s.  8d.  Robert  Hampton,  rector  of 
Middleton,  kept  four  greyhounds,  and  often  hunted  hares ;  as 
he  did  not  put  in  an  appearance  and  could  not  be  found,  the 
rector  was  outlawed.  John,  the  chaplain  of  Hackness,  in  1312, 
and  again  in  1314,  knowingly  received  unlawfully  hunted 
venison  ;  on  his  conviction  he  was  fined  £i  6.r.  3d.  During 
the  time  of  the  sitting  of  the  eyre,  John  Shepherd,  parson  of 
Levisham,  was  caught  by  Edmund  Hastings,  forester-in-fee, 
in  the  act  of  killing  a  hart  with  bow  and  arrow  in  Haughdale  ; 


he  was  taken  to  the  castle  and  there  imprisoned.  On  being 
taken  before  the  justices,  he  and  his  companion  got  off  with 
the  light  fine  of  13^.  ^d.  each.  On  loth  July,  1311,  a  servant 
lad  of  William  Nafferton,  vicar  of  Scalby,  and  two  other  men, 
carried  a  hind,  which  one  of  them  had  killed,  to  the  vicarage, 
but  without  the  vicar's  knowledge  ;  there  they  skinned  it,  and 
Dionysia,  the  vicar's  maid,  was  an  accessory,  for  she  had  part 
of  the  venison  ;  part  she  sent  as  a  gift  to  Emma  Pinchon, 
laundress  of  Newby,  and  the  rest  she  sent  out  to  the  fields  to 
the  vicar's  ploughmen  for  their  dinner.  One  of  those  who 
carried  the  venison  to  the  house  was  fined  6s.  8^.,  and  the 
rest  were  outlawed.  Outlawry  was  the  usual  penalty  for  these 
venison  trespassers  where  the  offender  was  poor  and  could  not 
readily  be  found.  It  is  highly  probable  that  not  a  few  of  such 
outlaws  eventually  returned  to  their  parishes  or  homes  in  the 
lighter  cases. 

Many  of  the  delinquents  of  the  earlier  years  since  the  last 
eyre  were  doubtless  dead,  and  where  that  was  known  to  be  the 
case  the  information  was  struck  off.  But  one  case  brought 
before  the  justices  in  1334  went  back  as  far  as  1289.  In  that 
instance  two  men  of  Farndale,  who  killed  two  hinds  in  Parnell- 
dale  on  ist  July,  1289,  were  fined,  the  one  26s.  8d.  and  the 
other  40^.,  thirty-five  years  after  the  offence  was  committed. 

The  enormous  amount  of  business  of  every  kind  that  ac- 
cumulated for  the  justices  to  supervise  at  these  long-deferred 
eyres  generally  caused  the  proceedings  to  be  very  protracted. 
This  one  at  Pickering,  with  occasional  sittings  at  Hackness 
for  the  liberty  of  the  abbot  of  Whitby,  actually  lasted  for  two 
years,  though,  of  course,  they  were  not  continuous  sittings. 

Among  matters  investigated  by  a  jury  at  these  pleas  was  the 
general  amount  of  venison  taken  in  the  forest  since  the  last  iter. 
The  returns  made  showed  that  when  John  Dalton  was  constable 
and  keeper,  he  took  134  harts,  and  158  hinds,  bucks  and  does,  as 
well  as  five  hinds  that  Henry  Percy  took  by  his  leave,  and  three 
hinds,  three  calves  (red  deer  fawns),  two  fallow  deer,  and  two 
roe  deer,  which  he  took  and  gave  away  as  he  pleased.  When 
he  appeared  before  the  justices,  Dalton  stated  that  when  keeper 
under  Earl  Thomas  he  took  harts,  hinds,  bucks,  and  does,  and 
delivered  them  in  accordance  with  the  earl's  orders  and  pro- 
duced his  warrants.  Among  others  were  seventy-two  harts, 


fifty-six  hinds,  and  forty-two  fallow  deer  for  the  earl's  larder ; 
fourteen  harts  and  eighteen  hinds  for  tithe  to  the  abbot  of 
St.  Mary's,  York ;  three  hinds  for  the  Bishop  of  Ely  ;  and  a 
large  number  of  single  deer  to  all  the  chief  families  of  the 
district.  The  two  roe  deer  and  two  calves  were  taken  acci- 
dentally by  his  hounds  when  in  the  forest,  and  he  was  not  able 
to  rescue  them  alive.  He  denied  taking  and  giving  away 
three  hinds  and  two  fallow  deer,  but  judgment  was  given 
against  him  in  that,  and  he  was  fined  £2,  and  had  to  find 
sureties  for  good  behaviour.  During  the  time  of  his  office 
several  hundred  oaks  were  felled  that  were  chiefly  used  for  the 
fortifications  and  repairs  of  the  buildings  and  stockades  of  the 
castle.  Dalton  was  able  to  produce  warrants  for  all  save  five 
oaks,  and  for  these  he  had  to  answer  at  the  rate  of  6d.  each, 
and  3o«r.  for  the  offence. 

Kilvington,  when  he  was  constable,  had  felled  107  oaks  in 
the  forest,  and  305  in  Haugh  Rise  and  Birkhow.  In  his  time 
152  harts  and  159  hinds  and  fallow  deer  were  taken  in  the 
forest.  He  appeared,  and  said  that  all  that  he  had  done  was  by 
royal  warrant,  save  that  thirty  harts  and  fifty  hinds  had  died 
of  murrain,  and  that  their  putrid  carcases  were  hung  on  oaks 
in  the  forest.  He  was  given  till  i3th  March,  1335,  to  obtain 
certificates  from  the  Exchequer.  These  certificates  were  ac- 
cordingly produced  at  that  date,  but  as  they  did  not  entirely 
free  him  he  was  allowed  to  make  a  fine  to  the  earl  of  £20  to 
clear  the  remainder. 

Richard  Skelton,  the  late  keeper,  was  dead  ;  the  foresters 
certified  that  during  his  time  390  harts  and  524  hinds  and 
calves,  etc.,  were  killed,  but  about  500  of  them  died  of  murrain, 
and  that  he  gave  a  hunt  after  the  earl's  game  to  Anthony  Bek, 
Bishop  of  Durham,  and  another  to  Robert  Bigot,  who  in  each 
case  carried  off  their  game  ;  but  they  were  both  dead. 

They  also   made  short   returns   for   the    brief  periods   that 
.William  le  Eure,   Adam  Skelton,   and   Simon    Simeon  were 
successive  keepers  ;  in  each  case  there  were  many  deaths  from 

Ralph  Hastings  was  able  to  produce  warrants  for  all  vert 
and  venison  since  he  had  been  keeper. 

The  Regard  of  the  forest,  presented  on  the  opening  day  of 
the  eyre,  introduced  another  class  of  business  and  investigation 


set  forth  under  the  various  statutory  articles.  In  this  case  the 
sworn  statements  were  of  exceptional  length,  as  they  actually 
had  to  present  all  assarts  made  in  the  forest  since  28th  October, 
1217,  namely,  for  117  years  !  Those  between  1217  and  the  last 
eyre  were  termed  old  assarts,  and  those  since  the  last  eyre 
new  assarts.  All  these  assarts  and  enclosures,  and  encroach- 
ments and  spoiling  of  woods  have  been  set  forth  at  length  by 
Mr.  Turton  from  the  Coucher  Book. 

Agistment  records  were  put  in,  beginning  in  the  year  1290. 
The  pannage  charge  in  both  the  East  and  West  wards  was  id. 
for  a  pig,  and  \d.  for  a  little  pig,  that  is  under  half  a  year  old. 

Particular  indictments  presented  to  the  justices,  when  sitting, 
in  1335,  included  charges  against  foresters  of  skinning  a  hart 
that  died  of  the  murrain  and  keeping  its  skin,  worth  is.  4^.,  to 
their  own  use  ;  foresters  taking  and  retaining  pasturage  fees  ; 
foresters  keeping  pigs,  horses,  and  beasts  unlawfully  ;  the 
prioress  of  Rosedale  usurping  the  right  of  having  a  woodward 
in  Rosedale  wood  ;  and  the  wrongful  appropriation  of  honey. 

The  cases  of  vert  trespasses  committed  within  the  demesne 
since  the  eyre  of  1280,  that  were  presented  at  the  eyre  of  1334, 
numbered  only  93  ;  but  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  swain- 
mote  courts  had  power  of  dealing  with  the  minor  offences  of 
this  nature,  and  that  in  many  instances  the  trespassers  and  bail 
must  have  been  dead.  The  majority  of  the  cases  were  for  taking 
green  oaks  of  comparatively  small  value.  The  fines  imposed 
varied  from  i s.  to  £5.  In  addition  to  oaks,  alders,  hazels,  hollies, 
thorns,  saplings,  and  poles  are  mentioned.  The  present  ver- 
derers  were  held  responsible  for  the  value-fines  of  the  swain- 
motes  that  their  predecessors  had  received.  Clergy,  both 
secular  and  religious,  appear  among  the  transgressors.  Of  the 
former,  the  rectors  of  Brampton  and  Middleton,  and  the  vicar 
of  Ebbeston,  had  to  answer  for  comparatively  small  offences. 
Of  the  latter,  the  offenders  included  the  abbot  of  Whitby  (for 
a  trifling  offence),  the  priors  of  Bridlington  and  Malton,  and 
the  preceptor  of  Foulbridge.  The  prior  of  Malton  had  the  dis- 
tinction of  paying  the  heaviest  vert  fine  of  the  whole  eyre. 
He  took  green  thorn  and  hazels  in  Allantofts,  value  £i,  and 
carried  it  to  Scarborough  for  kippering  his  herrings.  The 
prior  appeared  and  was  convicted,  and  though  it  was  stated 
that  he  had  never  since  been  found  within  the  bounds  of  the 

THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          117 

forest,  he  was  held  responsible  for  the  value,  and  was  further 
fined  the  sum  of  .£5.  Three  servants  of  the  prior  of  Bridling- 
ton  felled,  for  the  use  of  the  prior,  a  green  oak  by  night  in 
Fulwood  value  2d.  They  were  caught  whilst  carrying  it  away 
in  a  wagon  worth  40^.,  drawn  by  four  oxen,  worth  in  all 
£1  6s.  8d.,  and  were  handed  over  to  the  late  prior  to  be  pro- 
duced at  this  eyre.  The  present  prior  was  held  responsible, 
and  in  addition  to  the  loss  of  wagon  and  oxen  was  fined  2s. 
One  of  the  servants  was  dead,  and  the  two  others,  who  had 
been  released  on  bail,  did  not  appear.  Their  bail  was  ordered 
to  be  forfeited,  when  it  was  found  that  they  were  all  dead.  This 
was  evidently  an  old  case  that  had  probably  occurred  soon 
after  the  last  eyre  ;  but  the  vert  roll,  unlike  that  for  venison, 
unfortunately  gives  no  dates.  There  are  several  other  instances 
of  forfeiture  of  wagons  and  oxen  ;  in  these  the  value  was 
much  lower  than  in  the  prior's  case,  for  the  other  wagons  are 
all  valued  at  6d.,  and  the  oxen  in  sums  varying  from  2s.  8d.  to 
3-r.  ^d.  each. 

The  various  cases  of  cattle  taken  within  the  forest  that  were 
unagisted  since  the  last  eyre,  included  upwards  of  150  different 
charges.  Such  cattle  were  impounded  by  the  forest  ministers, 
and  as  a  rule  their  value  was  paid  to  the  lord  ere  released. 
These  sums  appeared  in  the  annual  accounts  of  the  forest.  It 
seems  that  the  usual  course  was  for  all  these  cases  to  be  brought 
before  the  eyre,  but  that  no  further  proceedings  were  generally 
taken  if  it  was  shown  that  the  value-fine  had  been  paid  at  the 

The  fines  for  non-appearance  on  the  first  day  of  this  pro- 
tracted eyre  were  astonishingly  numerous.  They  were 
evidently  levied  according  to  the  position  of  the  offender, 
and  the  extent  of  his  rights  within  the  forest.  Thus  the  prior 
of  the  Hospitallers  was  fined  £3  ;  Henry  de  Percy  and  Thomas 
Wake,  £2 ;  William  Latimer,  £i  los.  ;  and  the  abbot  of 
.  Rievaulx  and  Sir  Richard  de  Ros,  £i.  There  were  several 
fines  of  3^.  4^.,  and  others  of  is.  8d.  In  thirty-two  cases  there 
were  is.  fines,  whilst  6d.  was  the  forfeit  paid  by  nearly  300 
persons.  The  townships  of  Pickering  and  Goathland  were 
fined  £i  for  non-appearance  of  their  four  men  and  reeves 
on  the  first  day,  and  four  other  townships  smaller  amounts.  In 
about  a  dozen  cases  there  was  no  fine  on  account  of  poverty. 


Robert  Stephen,  though  fined  6d. ,  had  nothing  to  pay  because 
he  was  a  villein  ;  whilst  John  Foxlove  was  pardoned  his  fine 
for  two  good  reasons,  as  he  was  both  poor  and  dead  ! 

The  records  of  various  swainmote  or  attachment  courts  of 
this  forest  for  the  year  1407-8  are  extant.  At  one  held  at 
Pickering  on  iyth  September,  the  woodwards  of  Crosscliffe 
and  Stayndale  were  each  fined  2d.  for  non-appearance.  The 
attachments  for  agistment  of  pigs  in  the  West  ward  during  the 
close  month  were  numerous. 

The  attendance  of  the  officials  at  these  minor  courts  seems 
to  have  been  slack.  At  a  swainmote  held  on  St.  Matthew's 
Day,  the  forester  of  Alayntoft  was  fined  zd.  ;  John  Gower,  one 
of  the  verderers,  6d.  ;  William  de  Roston,  deputy  regarder, 
^d.  ;  John  Westhorpe,  regarder,  4^.,  for  absence.  The  town- 
ship of  Brymyngeshoe  was  at  the  same  time  fined  6d.  for  the 
absence  of  their  reeve  and  four  men. 

Fines  were  paid  this  year  before  John  de  Sultan,  lieutenant 
for  William  de  Roos,  lord  of  Hamelake,  the  keeper  of  the 
forest,  for  the  lawing  of  dogs.  The  West  ward  paid  the  large 
sum  of  £10  i8s.  8d.,  duly  portioned  out  among  the  different 
townships  ;  Pickering,  with  Goathland,  paid  6os.  ;  Cropton, 
with  Hartoft,  30^.  ;  whilst  others  like  Newton  only  paid  3-r.  4^. 
The  sum  received  for  a  like  cause  from  the  East  ward  was 
£3  os.  8d. 

The  due  number  of  courts,  namely,  one  every  forty  days, 
were  held  in  1408  at  Pickering,  and  other  forest  centres. 
At  the  Langdon  court,  Sir  David  de  Rouclyffe  was  presented  for 
having  felled  in  Goathland,  in  a  close  called  Malton  close, 
nine  oaks  for  a  balk  then  being  made  in  Pickering  at  a  place 
called  Barylgate,  and  also  seven  oaks  and  twenty-three  logs  of 
willow  and  linden  for  building  there. 

The  forests  pertaining  to  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster  naturally 
suffered  severely  during  the  Wars  of  the  Roses,  and  perhaps 
none  more  so  than  Pickering.  In  October,  1489,  Henry  VII. 
enjoined  upon  Brian  Sandford,  steward^  of  the  honor  of 
Pickering,  constable  of  the  castle,  and  "master  forster  of  our 
game  within  the  seid  honnor,"  that  no  manner  of  person  be 
permitted  in  any  way  to  take  or  disturb  the  game  for  the  space 
of  three  years — "As  it  is  common  unto  our  knowledge  that 
our  game  of  dere  and  warenne  within  our  seid  honnor  is  gretly 

THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          119 

diminnished  by  excessive  huntyng,  and  likely  to  be  destroied, 
without  restreyn  in  the  same  be  had  in  that  depart."  "  We 
desire,"  continued  the  king",  "the  replenisshyng  of  our  seid 
game  not  only  for  our  singler  pleasure  but  also  for  the  disport 
of  other  oure  servantes  and  subjettes  of  wirshipp  in  theis 

The  country  had  apparently  not  sufficiently  settled  down  for 
justices  to  be  spared  at  this  period  to  go  through  the  long  pro- 
cesses involved  in  forest  pleas  at  Pickering,  and  the  king,  in 
1494,  appointed  Brian  Sandford  and  Richard  Cholmley  to  act 
as  commissioners  in  procuring  inquests  as  to  the  various 
transgressions  in  the  forest,  taking  cognisances  of  all  offences 
for  the  past  five  years.  The  jury,  which  included  five  esquires 
and  three  gentlemen,  first  presented  that,  on  ist  July,  1489,  Leo 
Percy,  lately  of  Ryton,  esquire,  a  forester-of-fee,  killed  a  buck 
which  Sir  Thomas  Metham  had;  on  i2th  July,  a  buck,  which 
Master  Babthorp,  reeve  of  Hemingborough  had ;  on  aoth 
December,  a  doe,  which  John  Clay  and  Robert  Milner  of 
Kirby  Moorside  had  ;  on  22nd  December,  three  does,  one  of 
which  went  to  Sir  John  Pickering,  another  to  Sir  Thomas 
Metham,  and  the  third  to  John  Hotham,  of  Scarborough  ;  and 
also  at  divers  times  six  does  and  one  hind  in  the  park  of 
Blandsby  for  his  own  use.  In  1490  he  killed  nineteen,  in  1491 
nineteen,  in  1492  fifteen,  and  in  1493  twelve,  disposing  of  them 
to  such  persons  as  those  already  named,  as  well  as  to  the  prior 
of  Watton,  the  rector  of  Levisham,  Sir  Marmaduke  Constable, 
Guy  Fairfax,  and  Robert  Constable,  of  Holm. 

They  also  charged  Roger  Hastings,  one  of  the  foresters-of- 
fee,  with  taking  twenty  deer. 

On  the  other  hand,  Lionel  Percy  and  Roger  Hastings  each 
claimed  as  foresters-of-fee  two  harts  and  two  bucks  in  summer, 
and  two  harts  and  two  does  in  winter  ;  but  the  jury  disallowed 
this,  and  returned  that  they  were  only  permitted  one  course 
for  their  dogs  twice  a  year.  "  The  two  foresters  claimed  from 
every  deer  slain  within  the  forest  both  the  shoulders  as  well  as 
the  entrails,  or  numbles  (barbillas,  que  barbille  proprie  noun- 
billes  evocantur}.  But  the  jury  disallowed  this,  stating  that  the 
foresters-of-fee  had  only  a  right  to  the  left  shoulder,  the  right 
shoulder  and  the  entrails  belonging  to  the  master  forester  or 
his  lieutenant. 


In  a  schedule  supplied  to  the  Commission  of  fallow  deer 
killed  or  taken  out  of  the  park  of  Blandsby,  within  the  honor  of 
Pickering,  by  the  steward  and  his  deputies  or  by  others  at  his 
command,  12  are  entered  for  1488,  including  a  buck  each  for  the 
dean  of  York  and  for  the  abbot  of  St.  Mary,  York;  and  12  died 
in  the  summer  of  that  year  of  murrain.  Of  the  15  does  killed 
at  Michaelmas,  in  1489,  6  were  retained  by  the  steward  and 

2  by  his  clerk  ;  6  died  of  murrain.     But  of  16  deer  killed  at 
Easter  of  that  year,  the  steward  kept  4  bucks,  and  his  clerk 

3  does  ;  the  murrain  carried  off  8  male  deer.     At  Michaelmas, 
1490,  13  deer  were  killed  by  the  steward's  orders,  all  does,  of 
which  the  dean  of  York  received  one  ;  the  murrain  was  respon- 
sible for  the  death  of  six.     From  this  date  up  to  the  holding  of 
the  Commission  the  number  of  deer  killed  by  the  steward's 
orders  averaged  15  a  year.     Of  those  killed  at  Easter,  1491,  a 
buck  was  assigned  to  "  the  weddyng  of  Crystofer  Peghen,"  and 
another  "to  making  of  a  Preest."     The  last  entry  probably 
refers  to  a  feast  given  at  Pickering  by  the  parents  of  one  who 
had  been  admitted  to  priest's  orders. 

A  separate  schedule  was  presented  of  "the  herts,  hinds,  and 
other  reade  dere  which  have  been  taken  by  Bryan  Sampford 
Esquyre,  steward  of  the  honor  of  Pykeringe,"  or  his  deputies, 
between  1488  and  1493.  They  included  9  harts,  3  hinds,  2 
brocket,  and  i  "  Hyrsill."  A  hind  was  also  found  hurt  with  a 
harrow  in  Newton  Dale,  which  had  to  be  slain.  During  this 
period  15  red  deer  died  of  the  murrain. 

A  prolonged  and  fierce  dispute  arose  between  Hastings  and 
Chomley  as  to  this  forest,  of  which  extraordinarily  full  records 
are  still  extant.  Members  of  the  Hastings  family  had  been 
frequently  stewards  of  the  honor  of  Pickering,  constables  of  its 
castle,  and  masters  or  keepers  of  the  forest  for  some  two  centuries. 
Richard  II.  had  appointed  Sir  Edmund  Hastings  to  these 
offices,  and  Henry  VII.  had  confirmed  the  appointment,  and 
made  him  also  keeper  of  Blandsby  park  in  the  second  year  of 
his  reign.  But  Henry  had  soon  cause  to  note  the  lax  way  in 
which  the  old  officials  of  the  duchy  discharged  their  duties, 
and  on  the  death  of  Sir  Edmund  Hastings  severed  the  official 
connection  of  that  family  with  the  honor  of  Pickering.  Sir 
Roger  Hastings,  as  tenant  of  Kingthorpe,  became  one  of  the 
foresters-of-fee,  but  Brian  Sandford  became  master  forester  and 

THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          121 

steward.  Within  five  years,  however,  of  his  being  appointed,  the 
new  steward's  laxity  in  both  vert  and  venison  came  before  the 
very  court  of  which  he  was  joint  commissioner  with  Richard 
Cholmley,  whilst  two  of  the  other  chief  offenders  were,  as  we 
have  just  seen,  foresters-of-fee.  The  jury  were  themselves  so 
tainted  that  they  failed  to  convict,  and  eventually  Brian  Sand- 
ford  was  removed,  and  Sir  Richard  Cholmley  appointed  in  his 
place.  Though  a  man  of  eminence,  Cholmley  had  then  no  con- 
nection with  Pickering  or  the  district,  and  his  advent  and  that 
of  his  family  was  bitterly  resented  by  the  Hastings,  who  were 
not  only  jealous,  but  resentful  towards  the  stricter  forest  rules. 
In  1501  complaint  was  made  to  the  chancellor  of  the  duchy 
by  Sir  Roger  Hastings,  one  of  the  king's  foresters  of  Pickering 
forest,  against  Sir  Richard  Cholmley,  master  of  the  forest  and 
his  deputies,  for  suffering  great  waste  of  both  wood  and  deer 
in  the  forest  and  park.  The  charges  are  set  forth  with  much 
particularity  in  a  long  schedule.  The  list  of  waste  in  those 
woods  of  the  king's  demesne,  where  no  free  tenants  were  en- 
titled to  have  any  live  trees,  opens  with  thirty-six  oaks  assigned 
to  the  abbot  of  Whitby  and  twenty  oaks  to  the  dean  of  York. 
The  allotment  of  forty-six  other  oaks  is  also  specified.  Various 
charges  were  made  against  the  master's  servants,  the  gravest 
of  which  was  : — 

"  Item,  the  said  Richard  Chomely  hath  a  servaunt  called  John 
Colson,  and  he  dayly  ledes  away  the  kinges  wode  be  horse  lade  to 
Scarbrougfh,  some  day  iiij  horses,  and  oft  tymes  vj  horses  dayly  this 
vij  yeres  and  every  yere  to  the  value  of  v  /z',  sum  xxxv  li. " 

The  waste  in  the  wood  called  "the  Yath  "  was  said  to  be 
very  considerable  ;  about  150  loads  of  wood  are  enumerated, 
with  the  names  of  those  who  had  them  in  a  single  year,  as  well 
as  a  great  many  stubs.  In  the  same  year,  in  the  grounds  of 
Deepdale,  about  100  oaks  had  been  felled  by  the  officers  and 
servants  of  the  master,  out  of  which  only  a  very  few  had  been 
used  towards  the  repair  of  the  castle  walls. 

As  to  the  destruction  of  the  king's  game,  Sir  Richard 
Cholmley  was  charged  with  hunting,  chasing,  and  slaying  with 
greyhounds,  bows  and  arrows,  or  permitting  to  be  slain  by 
others,  between  1499  and  1501,  the  following  deer,  the  date, 
place,  and  name  of  the  exact  offender  being  in  each  case 


chronicled.  Fallow  deer  :  4  buck,  2  sowers,  3  does  ;  red  deer  : 
14  stags,  5  bucks,  17  harts,  19  hinds,  18  calves  (both  hind  and 
hart,  but  not  always  specified  which),  and  3  hyrsills.  In 
addition  to  this,  6  stags,  i  hart,  i  hind,  and  i  calf  had  been 
found  dead  in  Langdon  and  Newton  Dale  with  arrows  in  them. 

The  answer  of  Sir  Richard  Cholmley  to  the  bill  of  complaint 
of  Sir  Roger  Hastings  was  brief,  vigorous,  and  to  the  point. 
He  said  that  the  charges  were  false,  and  only  intended  to 
vex  and  trouble  him,  that  neither  the  abbot  of  Whitby  nor  the 
dean  of  York  had  ever  had  any  timber  out  of  Pickering  forest 
since  he  had  been  an  official ;  that  the  whole  of  the  charges  as 
to  the  waste  of  wood  were  false,  save  that  stubbs  were  delivered 
to  certain  tenants  by  his  officers  for  "firebote,"  according  to 
ancient  usage.  As  to  the  game,  he  had  given  "  certain  dear  to 
the  lords  and  gentylmen  borderyng  unto  the  said  forrest 
to  thentent  that  they  shuld  be  lovyng  and  favorable  to  the 
kynges  game  there,"  and  that  their  number  and  condition  were 
better  than  they  had  been  when  he  entered  on  his  office. 

As  a  counterblast  to  this  long  and  definite  complaint,  Roger 
Cholmley  (brother  to  Richard)  and  others  laid  complaints  of  a 
much  shorter  character  before  the  chancellor,  in  the  following 
year,  as  to  certain  offences  committed  by  Sir  Roger  Hastings 
in  Pickering  Lithe. 

It  became  necessary  to  hold  a  local  inquiry.  The  inquisi- 
tion was  opened  at  Pickering  on  ist  May,  1503.  The  jury 
found  that  in  the  year  1501  a  stag  was  killed  at  Cross  Cliff 
for  Lord  Clifford ;  a  hart  at  Goathland  for  the  Bishop  of  Carlisle ; 
a  stag  for  the  Archbishop  of  York ;  a  hart  for  the  Abbot 
of  Fountains;  a  stag  for  the  Receiver-General  of  the  Duchy;  a 
stag  for  Mr.  Empson  ;  a  stag  killed  by  Sir  Richard  Cholmley 
and  given  to  the  Ambassador  of  Scotland  ;  a  stag  killed  by 
Sir  John  Hotham  and  Sir  Richard  Cholmley ;  and  a  brocket 
killed  by  Sir  Ralph  Bigot  ;  also  a  buck  and  doe  without 
licence  by  two  yeomen.  The  jury  further  stated  that  the  red 
deer  in  the  forest  of  Pickering  then  numbered  "  200  over  and 
above  the  number  that  were  founden  at  thentre  of  the  said 
Sir  Richard  Cholmeley,  and  whereas  the  said  Sir  Richard 
upon  iiij  yeres  passed  founde  at  his  entre  to  said  parke 
(Blandsby)  xviij  score  falowe  dere,  there  be  nowe  500  or 




THE    FOREST   OF    PICKERING          123 

As  to  the  charge  of  wood  wasting,  the  jury  were  equally 
emphatic,  declaring  that  neither  Sir  Richard,  nor  his  brother, 
nor  any  of  the  officials,  "did  sell,  give,  nor  emploie  to  theire 
owne  use  any  maner  of  wodde,  excepte  suche  tymber  and 
wodde  as  by  theym  hathe  beene  delivered  to  the  King's  tenaunts 
and  freehoolders  as  of  right  and  due  unto  them." 

In  addition  to  the  findings  of  the  juries,  William  Savage 
and  Thomas  Magnus,  before  whom  the  inquest  was  held, 
appended  other  valuable  proof  as  to  the  condition  of  the  forest 
and  park.  They  stated  that  they  had  diligently  examined  on 
oath  the  foresters,  keepers,  and  woodwards,  as  well  as  other 
persons,  and  that  even  those  who  were  adversaries  of  Sir 
Richard  had  to  admit  that  there  were  at  least  200  red  deer,  a 
greater  number  than  when  he  entered  on  his  office  ;  whilst 
Sir  Richard  and  others  deposed  that  they  now  numbered 
300.  The  Commissioners  resolved  to  test  the  matter  for  them- 
selves : — 

"  Item,  we  being  perfitely  enformed  that  the  circuit  of  the  said 
foreste  conteynneth  upon  Ix  myles  aboute,  did  take  with  us  viij 
persons,  and  went  sodenly  into  the  said  foreste,  and  notwithstanding 
there  be  noe  lawnde  wherunto  the  said  dere  shulde  resoorte,  but  all 
the  moores  in  corne  for  the  kingges  tenants  there,  yet  natheless  the 
said  viij  persons  brought  unto  us  withyne  two  houres  vij  or  viij  score 
Rede  dere,  and  soe  we  vewed  thaym  at  the  same  sodeyn  assemble." 

As  to  the  park,  Sir  Richard's  adversaries  did  not  deny  that 
there  were  400  fallow  deer,  whilst  his  friends  deposed  on  oath 
that  there  were  500 ;  the  Commissioners  on  view  believed  the 
latter  statement  to  be  true. 

The  foresters  were  accustomed  and  allowed  to  occasionally 
take  dead  wood  to  Scarborough  and  elsewhere  for  sale  ;  but  in 
the  case  of  John  Colson,  "he  fortuned  to  toppe  the  toppes  of 
certaine  stubbe  oakes,  and  sold  the  same  with  his  wyndefallen 
wodde  at  Scarborough."  But  directly  this  came  to  Sir  Richard's 
knowledge,  John  Colson  was  dismissed  from  office  openly  in 
court,  and  imprisoned  in  Pickering  castle  until  he  found 
sureties  for  his  future  good  behaviour. 

The  deer  of  Pickering  forest  dwindled  during  Henry  VIII. 's 
reign.  In  a  return  of  all  the  king's  deer  north  of  the  Trent, 
drawn  up  in  1538,  there  were  but  140  fallow  deer  and  50  red 


deer  in  the  forest.     But  perhaps  the  deer  in  Blandsby  park 
escaped  reckoning. 

An  inquisition  was  held  as  to  the  condition  of  the  forest  in 
1562,  the  returns  of  the  juries  covering  the  period  since  the 
death  of  Henry  VIII.  It  was  stated  that  since  that  time  Sir 
Richard  Cholmley  had  felled  eighty  oak  trees  in  Goathland, 
and  much  in  other  parts  of  the  forest  to  his  own  use,  and  that 
he  had  used  much  timber  in  the  making  of  his  house  at 
Roxby ;  that  Sir  Richard  had  taken  down  fourteen  loads  of 
the  best  dressed  stones  out  of  the  chief  tower  and  other  parts 
of  Pickering  castle  to  build  his  gallery  at  Roxby,  the  castle 
being  in  ruin  and  decay  ;  that  the  red  deer  were  viewed  to  be 
264,  whereof  54  were  male  deer  ;  and  that  the  fallow  deer  in 
Blandsby  park  and  woods  adjoining  were  600,  whereof  77  were 

In  1591,  the  killing  of  any  deer,  red  or  fallow,  within 
Pickering  forest,  was  prohibited  for  three  years,  as  the  stock 
was  getting  greatly  diminished. 

A  survey  of  the  woods  taken  early  in  1608  mentions  that 
the  wall  of  stone  round  Blandsby  park  was  greatly  decayed 
in  many  places,  and  that  there  were  then  about  100  deer  in  it. 

The  elaborate  survey  taken  in  1619-21  by  John  Norden, 
sworn  to  by  forty-one  jurors,  gives  full  particulars  as  to 
bounds,  woods,  wastes,  encroachments,  and  general  manorial 
details.  Norden  complains  that  "  the  tenantes  about  Pickeringe 
are  so  unrulie,  as  they  make  their  owne  pervers  wills  a 
law."  In  connection  with  the  "spoylers  of  woode,"  mention 
is  made  of  oak,  ash,  alder,  and  maple.  There  were  no  keepers' 
lodges  in  any  part  of  the  forest  save  in  Blandsby  park,  where 
there  were  two. 

' '  The  foreste  game  shoulde  be  redd  deere,  but  few  lefte  within  the 
foreste,  and  they  that  are  raunge  into  confininge  woodes  of  Sr 
Thomas  Posthumus  Huby,  having  litle  or  noe  covert  els  within  the 
foreste,  but  Newton  Dale  onlie,  where  they  are  often  disturbed  with 
stealers  of  woode,  so  that  it  is  manifest  that  for  everye  redd  deare  in 
the  forest  there  are  5000  sheepe.  The  parke  is  replenishte  with 
fallow  deere,  but  being  unstaunchte  (unsatisfied)  they  raunge  over 
all  the  adjacent  feildes." 

A  detailed  survey  of  the  honor  and  its  members  was  also 


drawn  up  in  1651.  "  Wee  find,"  say  the  Commissioners, 
"that  within  the  Honor  of  Pickering  there  is  a  Forest,  a 
Chace,  and  a  Parke  (as  it  did  appeare  unto  us  by  an  ancient 
Veredict,  and  by  the  Testimony  of  many  ancient  Inhabitants), 
and  also  certaine  Lands  that  are  no  part  of  the  Forest." 
Neither  red  nor  fallow  deer  are  mentioned,  but  they  could  not 
have  been  extinct. 

The  honor  of  Pickering  had  been  settled  on  Queen  Henrietta 
Maria  as  part  of  her  jointure.  At  the  Restoration  it  reverted 
to  her,  and  a  survey  was  made  in  1661.  It  is  therein  stated  : 
"There  is  a  forest  called  the  forest  of  Pickeringe  Leighe,  and 
a  park  called  Blandesbie  parke  belonging  to  the  Honor.  The 
Parke  is  stored  with  deare,  but  the  game  within  the  forest  is 
almost  quite  decayed." 


In  the  centre  of  Yorkshire,  extending  right  up  to  the  walls 
of  York,  was  the  great  hunting  district  known  as  the  forest 
of  Galtres.  It  stretched  at  one  time  about  twenty  miles  north- 
ward from  York  to  the  ancient  town  of  Aldburgh  ;  being  royal 
demesne,  it  was  a  favourite  hunting-ground  of  the  Saxon 
kings.  From  the  days  of  Henry  III.  downwards,  the  incidents 
connected  with  this  forest  and  its  administration  are  of  frequent 
occurrence,  and  it  is  strange  that  it  has  not  found  an  historian. 
The  exigencies  of  space  only  permit  a  few  brief  extracts.  The 
two  Yorkshire  forests,  whose  officials  received  express  directions 
as  to  the  disposal  of  the  cablish  after  the  great  storm  of  1222, 
were  those  of  Galtres  and  of  the  district  between  the  Ouse  and 
the  Derwent.  In  1227  Henry  III.  ordered  the  bailiffs  of 
Hugh  de  Neville  in  the  forest  of  Galtres  to  supply  wood  and 
charcoal  for  three  days  for  the  use  of  the  archbishop  in  his 
house  at  York.  In  the  same  year  the  king  gave  four  oaks  out 
of  this  forest  for  the  repair  of  the  bridge  at  Topcliffe,  and  ten 
oaks  to  the  prior  of  Marton  for  the  building  of  his  church. 

A  perambulation  of  the  forests  of  Yorkshire  was  made  in 
1229,  when  it  was  certified  that  the  whole  forest  of  Galtres,  the 
forest  between  the  Ouse  and  the  Derwent,  and  the  forest  of 
Farndale  were  true  ancient  forests  of  the  king. 

In  1231  oaks  were  furnished  from  this  forest  for  the  repair  of 
mills  at  York,  and  on  October  of  that  year  the  king  ordered 


fifty  hinds  to  be  supplied  for  his  use  (salted  venison)  in  the 
coming  season  from  Galtres  forest ;  in  the  same  month  he 
instructed  the  sheriff  of  York  to  obtain  a  sufficiency  of  wood 
and  charcoal  from  this  district  against  his  coming  visit  to  York 
on  the  Sunday  before  Martinmas. 

Edward  I.,  in  1280,  gave  the  prioress  and  nuns  of  St. 
Clement's,  York,  six  oaks  fit  for  timber  out  of  Galtres,  and 
made  a  like  gift  to  the  Franciscans  of  Scarborough.  In  the 
following  year  Geoffrey  de  Neville,  the  keeper,  was  ordered 
to  supply  twelve  bucks  to  the  Earl  of  Surrey  ;  whilst  six  does 
were  presented  to  the  Archdeacon  of  Newark  in  the  ensuing 
January.  In  the  summer  of  1283  there  were  numerous  royal 
gifts  of  bucks  from  Galtres  ;  on  i8th  September  the  keeper  was 
directed  to  supply  Anthony  Bek,  the  elect  of  Durham,  with 
twenty-five  bucks. 

Philip  le  Lardiner,  son  and  heir  of  David  le  Lardiner, 
obtained  seisin  of  the  serjeanty  of  the  forestry  of  the  forest  of 
Galtres,  after  doing  homage  for  it,  in  January,  1284,  which 
David  at  his  death  held  of  the  king  in  chief.  In  the 
same  year  the  Franciscans  of  York  obtained  six  oaks  for 
the  work  of  their  church  ;  whilst  the  dean  of  York  (Robert  de 
Scarborough)  obtained  ten  live  does  to  help  to  stock  his  park 
of  Brotherton,  and  the  master  of  St.  Leonard's  Hospital,  York, 
four  live  bucks  and  eight  live  does  to  stock  a  park  of  his.  In 
1286  a  regard  was  ordered  to  be  taken  in  preparation  for  a 
forest  eyre. 

On  28th  October,  1307,  the  sheriff  of  York  received  a  man- 
date to  assemble  the  foresters  and  regarders  of  Galtres  to  make 
a  regard  prior  to  the  arrival  of  the  forest  justices.  They  were 
to  elect  new  regarders  in  the  place  of  those  dead  and  infirm,  so 
that  there  were  twelve  in  each  regard.  The  foresters  were  to 
swear  to  lead  the  twelve  knights  through  their  bailiwicks  to 
view  all  trespasses  which  were  to  be  expressed  in  the  written 
capitula  sent  to  the  sheriff.  The  knights  were  to  swear  to 
make  a  true  regard,  and  if  the  foresters  did  not  lead  them, 
or  wished  to  conceal  any  forfeiture,  the  knights  on  that  account 
were  not  to  omit  to  view  the  forfeiture.  The  regard  was  to  be 
made  before  the  Feast  of  the  Purification.  Assarts  made  since 
2  Henry  III.  were  to  be  viewed,  and  their  acreage,  sowing,  and 
ownership,  and  all  other  particulars,  written  down.  All  pur- 


prestures,  old  and  new,  were  to  be  likewise  stated  in  full 

Orders  were  given  in  1308  for  the  tithe  of  the  whole  venison 
taken  in  Galtres  to  be  delivered  to  the  abbot  and  convent  of 
St.  Mary's,  York,  in  accordance  with  the  grants  of  the  king's 
predecessors.  In  1311,  and  on  various  subsequent  occasions, 
the  king  ordered  the  sheriff  to  cause  new  verderers  to  be 
elected  for  Galtres  in  the  place  of  those  removed  by  the  Crown 
for  insufficiency.  Forest  pleas  were  held  at  York  in  1311,  and 
again  in  1313. 

Various  attachment  court  rolls  of  this  forest,  temp.  Edward 
II.,  are  extant.  There  were  six  such  courts  held  in  1313-17, 
namely,  three  at  Easingwold,  two  at  Huby,  near  Sutton-on- 
the- Forest,  and  one  at  "  Hillulidgate."  The  fines  imposed 
were  chiefly  for  taking  wood  by  the  cartload.  The 
Epiphany  court  at  Huby  imposed  a  fine  of  6d.  for  twenty- 
four  such  cases,  and  one  of  i2d.  The  fines  at  the  Easingwold 
court,  at  Ascensiontide,  amounted  to  18^.,  and  included  sixteen 
at  6d.,  two  at  is.,  and  four  at  2s.,  all  vert  cases.  The  fines  at 
the  St.  John  Baptist  court  at  Huby  included  thirteen  cases  of 
turning  out  horses  at  6d.  each,  and  one  of  $s.  ^d.  for  the 
irregular  agisting  of  pigs.  At  another  court  there  was  a  small 
fine  for  collecting  acorns. 

The  number  of  courts  held  annually  seems  to  have  been 
irregular  ;  but  possibly  those  only  are  entered  where  there  was 
business  to  transact.  Thus  the  rolls  record  eight  courts  in 
1317-18  and  eleven  courts  in  1318-19.  In  the  latter  year 
William  Carlton,  butcher,  of  York,  was  fined  2s.  for  twelve 
pigs  taken  in  the  forest  in  time  of  pannage.  At  the  same  court 
the  straying  of  a  black  runt  or  steer  (unum  runctum  nigrurri) 
cost  the  owner  izd.,  and  there  was  also  a  fine  of  6d.  for  the 
straying  of  a  colt  (pro  haymaldatione  j pullani).  The  pannage 
of  pigs  at  Huby  brought  in  3^.  lod.  ;  at  Easingwold,  26s.  id.  ; 
.pigs  were  charged  id.  each,  and  little  pigs  \d.  The  fence 
month  payments  of  the  different  townships  amounted  to 
IDS.  id.  ;  cheminage  dues  to  los.  A  much  larger  sum  was 
obtained  when  the  dogs  were  lawed.  In  one  year  of  this 
reign  the  lawing  fees  amounted  to  £g  8s.  ;  the  payment 
was  3-r.  in  each  case,  save  in  one  instance,  when  the  owner 
pleaded  poverty,  and  the  fee  was  lowered  to  I2d. 


A  perambulation  was  made  on  oath  as  to  the  bounds  of  this 
forest  in  1316,  from  which  it  becomes  clear  that  the  forest  of 
Galtres  comprised  about  sixty  townships,  containing  within 
its  demesne  about  100,000  acres,  or  nearly  the  whole  of  the 
wapentake  of  Bulmer.  The  boundary  line,  beginning  at 
4 'the  foot  of  the  wall  of  the  city  of  York,"  passed  nearly  due 
north  to  Crayke,  and  thence  round  by  Stillington,  Farlington, 
and  Strensall,  and  so  to  Huntingdon,  "even  to  the  foot  of 
the  wall  of  Layrthorpe  Bridge,  where  the  perambulation 

The  bounding  jury  also  testified  that  there  was  but  one 
forester-of-fee  in  this  forest,  namely,  John  Hayword,  who 
held  his  bailiwick  for  the  term  of  his  life  by  the  gift  of 
Edward  II. 

In  1472,  John  Shupton,  who  held  the  office  of  riding  forester 
in  Galtres  by  letters  patent  of  Henry  IV.,  surrendered  his  letters 
in  Chancery  to  be  cancelled  in  favour  of  his  son  William. 
This  was  granted  on  payment  of  the  usual  fees,  with  ^4  yearly 
for  certain  herbage. 

There  are  also  various  Galtres  attachment  court  rolls  extant 
of  the  reign  of  Henry  VI.  (1422-60).  Interesting  reference  is 
therein  made  to  the  custom  of  Thistiltak,  or  thistletake,  though 
not  at  that  period  producing  any  appreciable  income.  '  *  Thistle- 
take  "  was  a  term  at  one  time  in  use  in  Yorkshire,  Lancashire, 
and  Cheshire  for  a  customary  fee  of  \d.  a  head  from  drovers, 
through  certain  forests  or  over  certain  commons,  if  they  per- 
mitted their  beasts  to  graze  to  any  extent,  even  to  the  snatching 
of  a  single  thistle. 

In  1432  the  agistment  of  cattle  produced  15^.,  and  the  pan- 
nage of  pigs  6s.  4^.  Fines  for  taking  a  cartload  of  "  ramell " 
(copse-wood)  varied  from  4^.  to  6d.,  and  for  a  cartload  of 
"  grissell "  (which  seems  to  have  been  a  term  for  fresh  cut 
grass  for  fodder)  6d.  to  &d. 

In  1483  Richard  III.  granted  for  life  to  his  servant  Geoffrey 
Frank,  one  of  the  esquires  of  the  body,  the  office  of  the  keeper 
of  the  king's  laund  within  the  forest  of  Galtres,  with  fees  of  £10 
yearly  at  the  hands  of  the  receiver  of  the  lordship  of  Sheriff 
Huttun,  and  other  profits.  Grants  were  also  made  about  the  same 
time  by  the  king  to  two  out  of  the  four  foresterships  ;  each  of  the 
four  foresters  had  a  wage  of  4^.  a  day.  Another  office  filled  by 


Richard  III.  in  the  following  year  was  that  of  steward  of 
Sutton  within  the  forest  of  Galtres. 

Some  interesting  particulars  relative  to  this  forest  occur  in 
connection  with  an  eyre  of  the  time  of  Henry  VIII.  At  pleas 
held  on  iyth  June,  1528,  William  Maunsell  appeared  as  chief 
steward;  Francis  Coket  was  riding  forester;  Sir  George  Law- 
son  and  John  Jenynges,  Esquire,  were  the  two  foresters,  each 
with  a  deputy;  Ralph  Hungayth,  Esq.,  and  Christopher 
Fenton,  gent.,  were  the  two  chief  verderers.  The  constable 
and  four  men  from  each  of  the  townships  of  Easingwold, 
Haxby,  Alne,  Tollerton,  Newton,  Skelton,  Clifton,  Muggin- 
ton,  Huby,  Strensall,  and  Stillington  appeared. 

Among  the  presentments  were  an  assart  of  80  acres  by  the 
treasurer  of  York  Cathedral,  a  forester  selling  100  loads  of 
underwood  in  the  last  twenty  years,  the  neglect  of  paling 
launds,  the  grazing  of  too  many  cattle,  and  trespass  with 
crossbow  and  greyhounds. 

Lord  Cromwell,  as  chief  justice  of  the  forests,  in  addition  to 
the  privilege  of  common  pasture  for  twelve  score  horned  cattle, 
received  £6  13$.  ^>\d.  in  fees  from  different  townships. 

11  The  office  of  the  Ryding  Forester  with  his  fees  accustomed  " 
is  thus  set  forth  : — 

"  Furst  the  Rydyng  Forester  office  is  to  ryde  the  perambula- 
tions with  the  kepers  and  the  King  his  tenauntes  at  the  tymes  accus- 
tomede,  to  see  and  enqueare  of  all  them  that  kepythe  anye  Closyng 
in  Severallie  that  ought  to  be  open  in  Winter,  And  also  to  hunte  the 
purlewes  and  outer  groundes  with  his  houndes  according  to  thoffice 
of  a  keper. 

"  Item  the  saide  Rydyng  Forester  haythe  in  his  Fee  accustomede 
within  the  saide  Foreste  as  folowethe  Fyrste  of  Saynt  Marie  in  Yorke 
iijjr  iiijfl?,  of  the  Maister  of  the  Comons  their  ijs,  of  Saynt  leonardes  in 
Yorke  iijs  vjd,  at  Huntington  of  holme  landes  iij^  iiijo?,  of  the  Vicarage 
of  Sutton  ijs,  of  Shipton  lands  in  Shipton  ijs,  at  Newton  upon  Ouse 
9  iijs  vjd,  at  Easingwold  of  the  Kyng  his  tenauntes  their  ij.y  vjd,  at  New- 
brough  ijj,  at  Byland  ij.y,  in  tachment  monye  iij^. 

"  Suma,  xxixs  ijV 

"The  office  of  the  Bowebearer  and  Receyvor  wythe  his  fees 

"  Furste  the  saide  Bowbearer  ought  dailie  to  walke  throughe  all 
the  saide  Forest  as  one  keper  ayther  by  hym  selve  or  his  deputie  or 


deputies.  Also  he  hayth  in  his  Fee  all  forfayte  Skynes  bothe  in 
Wynter  and  Somer  by  accustome.  Also  he  haythe  in  Fee  of  Saynt 
Marye  Abbaye  in  Yorke  xijaf,  in  Tachement  monye  iiij^  one  yere  & 
njs  v]d  one  other  yere,  at  Newborogh  xijd,  at  Bylande  xij*/.  Item  he 
haythe  oute  of  the  Extreacte  for  his  receyvourshippe  405. 

"  Suma  viij  /z  v'njs  xd" 

Cromwell  also  held  the  office  of  master  of  the  game  in  this 
forest,  and  was  declared  entitled  to  rights  of  herbage,  pannage, 
browsing,  "  cokkyes  or  the  netting  of  woodcocks,  windfallen 
wood,  fishing  and  fowling,  and  the  Laund  House  lodge  with  its 
herbage,  of  the  estimated  annual  value  of  £10',  also  i2d  for 
gayte  lawe  in  the  hole  forest  of  every  20  horse  6d,  of  every  20 
cattle,  &  4tf?  every  score  of  sheep,  &  zd  of  every  pakkehorse, 
2(1  for  the  hole  year  of  every  wayne,  in  fence  moneth  4^  other 
time  zd ;  also  34^  8d  St  Thomas  day,  and  the  last  day  of  fence 
moneth  in  certain  proportions  from  the  townships.  Suma 
£20.  i.  o" 

The  jury  returned  that  "  gate-lawe "  had  been  leased  for 
26s.  8d.  and  had  been  highly  misused  by  the  farmer.  They 
considered  that  gate  money  might  be  taken  of  all  the  "  bound- 
erers  "  that  carried  their  own  wood  2d.,  and  4^.  if  carrying 
other  men's  wood,  together  with  \d.  for  every  horse  ;  also  ^d. 
for  every  horse  carrying  merchandise  or  other  stuff  to  or  from 
the  city  of  York. 

During  the  civil  war  of  the  seventeenth  century,  which  raged 
so  fiercely  round  York,  the  forest  of  Galtres  naturally  suffered 
severely.  It  was  disafforested  in  the  time  of  Charles  II. 

Lack  of  space  prohibits  any  reference  to  the  Yorkshire  forests 
of  Hatfield  Chase,  Knaresborough,  and  Wensleydale. 


THE  history  of  the  royal  forest  of  Wirral,  as  well  as  of 
other  Cheshire  forests,  yet  remains  to  be  written.    There 
are    two    large    histories    of    the    hundred    of    Wirral 
(Mortimer,  1847  ;  and  Sulley,  1889),  but  neither  of  them  give 
more  than  a  sentence  or  two  to  the  story  of  its  forest.     There 
are  citations  from  and  references  to  various  documents  per- 
taining to  this  forest  in   Helsley's  fine  edition  of  Ormerod's 
Cheshire  (1882);  but  there  is  much  information  to  be  gleaned 
that  has  not  been  touched. 

On  nth  September,  1275,  the  Crown  instructed  Gaucelin  de 
Badelesmere,  justice  of  Chester,  to  permit  Roger  Lestrange 
to  take  two  stags  in  the  forest  of  Wirral  for  the  king's  use,  and 
to  cause  them  to  be  salted  and  brought  with  other  venison  to 
the  king  at  Westminster  by  Michaelmas. 

In  August,  1279,  the  same  justice  was  ordered  to  cause  the 
abbot  of  St.  Werburgh's,  Chester,  to  have  a  hart  in  Wirral 
forest  for  the  feast  of  that  saint. 

Licence  was  granted,  in  1283,  to  the  lepers  of  the  house  of 
Bebington,  within  the  forest,  to  enclose  five  acres  of  their 
waste  and  bring  it  into  cultivation  ;  but  the  dyke  was  to  be 
a  small  one  and  the  hedge  low,  so  that  the  deer  if  they  desired 
could  leap  it.  In  1303  a  hind  that  was  found  dead  in  the 
forest,  with  an  arrow  in  its  side,  was  given  to  these  lepers 
according  to  the  forest  assize,  but  the  arrow  was  the  perquisite 
of  the  forester. 

By  an  ordinance  of  1284  it  was  provided  that  a  hart  was  to 
be  given  annually  to  the  abbey  of  Chester  on  the  feast  of 
St.  Werburgh,  and  also  the  tithe  of  the  venison  yearly,  in  aid 


of  the  great  work  of  the  building  of  the  church,  as  was  done 
in  the  forest  of  Delamere. 

In  1328  the  chamberlain  of  Chester  was  ordered  to  pay 
Richard  de  Weford  the  arrears  of  his  wages  as  riding  forester 
of  Wirral,  and  to  continue  them  annually,  as  the  king  had 
appointed  Richard  to  this  office  at  the  request  of  Queen  Isabel 
before  his  accession,  in  consideration  of  his  services  to  her, 
and  he  was  to  hold  this  office  for  life  provided  he  conducted 
himself  well  in  the  bailiwick.  There  seems  to  have  been  some 
neglect  about  this  order,  for  it  was  repeated  in  1329  to  Oliver 
de  Ingham,  justice  of  Chester. 

The  citizens  of  Chester  suffered  so  much  from  the  shelter 
afforded  to  marauders  by  the  forest  so  closely  adjacent  to  its 
walls,  that  they  petitioned  Edward  the  Black  Prince,  then  Earl 
of  Chester,  to  cause  it  to  be  disforested.  This  was  accom- 
plished, but  not  until  after  the  prince's  death,  just  at  the  close 
of  the  reign  of  Edward  III.  The  Stanleys  valued  the  per- 
quisites of  the  master  forestership  at  £40  per  annum,  but 
only  received  a  pension  of  twenty  marks  on  the  abolition  of 
the  forest  jurisdiction.  Although  at  this  date  they  lost  all 
power  and  perquisites,  the  Stanleys  of  Hooton  long  continued 
titular  foresters  of  Wirral,  and  were  so  styled  in  documents  of 
the  reign  of  Henry  VII. 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  woodland  throughout  the  forest  of 
Wirral  in  early  days,  as  is  proved,  inter  alia,  by  place  and 
field  names  such  as  Woodchurch,  Ashfield,  Maplegreen, 
Okhill,  etc.  Place  names  also  show  where  the  lodges  of 
several  of  the  old  wards  or  divisions  of  the  forest  stood.  There 
is  an  old  adage  that  says  : — 

"  From  Blacon  point  to  Hillree 
A  squirrel  could  leap  from  tree  to  tree." 

That  is,  from  Chester  to  the  extreme  north-western  point  of 
the  peninsula  of  Wirral ;  but  it  is  highly  unlikely  that  this  was 
the  case  in  historic  times.  At  all  events,  the  wood  had  seriously 
diminished  some  years  before  Wirral  was  disforested,  for  in 
1359  William  Stanley,  the  hereditary  forester,  received  a  grant 
of  four  oaks  out  of  the  forest  of  Greves  from  the  Black  Prince, 
as  he  understood  that  Stanley  had  no  wood  for  fuel  in  his  own 

THE    FORESTS   OF   CHESHIRE          133 

Within  this  forest  was  Shotwick  Park,  attached  to  the 
strong  royal  castle  of  that  name.  Various  references  to  the 
game  and  timber  in  this  forest  are  given  by  Ormerod. 


These  two  considerable  forests  of  Cheshire  are  generally 
mentioned  in  old  documents  in  conjunction,  although  they  had 
in  some  respects  separate  jurisdiction.  The  whole  of  this 
united  forest  district  extended  over  all  the  hundred  of  Eddis- 
bury  save  a  few  parishes,  and  over  a  greater  part  of  the 
hundred  of  Nantwich.  The  forest  of  Mara  was  bounded  by 
the  Mersey  on  the  north,  and  had  the  forest  of  Wirral  on  the 
west,  whilst  that  of  Moudrem  stretched  out  to  the  south-east 
in  the  direction  of  Nantwich. 

Ormerod  tells  us  that  "  the  jurisdiction  was  originally  vested 
in  four  families" — Kingsley  of  Kingsley,  Grosvenor  of  Bud- 
worth,  Wever  of  Wever,  and  Merton  of  Merton,  by  which  we 
suppose  is  meant  that  these  four  families  held  hereditary 
foresterships-of-fee.  The  master  forestership  of  the  whole  was 
conferred  early  in  the  twelfth  century  on  Ralph  de  Kingsley  to 
hold  on  horn  tenure,  in  the  same  way  as  that  of  Wirral.  The 
Dones  afterwards  succeeded  to  the  Kingsleys  in  the  master 
forestership  and  in  the  forestership-of-fee.  At  the  forest  pleas, 
held  at  Chester  in  1271,  each  of  the  four  foresters-of-fee  were 
fined  heavily  for  destruction  of  woods  ;  Done  and  Grosvenor 
£13  6s.  8d.  each,  Merton  £10,  and  Wever  £5.  Richard 
Done,  as  chief  forester  of  Mara  and  Moudrem,  claimed  at 
that  eyre  to  have  eight  under-foresters  and  two  grooms,  who 
boarded  with  the  tenants  ;  two  strikes  of  oat  at  Lent  from 
every  tenant  for  provender  for  his  own  horse  ;  bracken  at  all 
times  save  the  hunting  season  ;  pannage  and  agistment  of 
pigs  ;  windfalls,  and  lops  of  felled  trees ;  crabstakes  and 
stubbs  ;  half  the  bark  of  felled  trees  ;  all  cattle  and  goats  taken 
at  non-agistment  times,  \d.  each,  and  the  same  of  straying 
beasts  between  Michaelmas  and  Martinmas;  all  sparrowhawks, 
merlins,  and  hobbies  ;  all  swarms  of  bees  ;  the  right  shoulder 
of  every  deer  taken  in  the  forest ;  the  horns  and  skin  of  every 
"stroken  deer"  found  dead;  waifs  found  in  the  forest;  the 
hunting  of  foxes,  hares,  cats,  weasels,  and  other  vermin  with 


hounds  or  greyhounds  ;  and  the  pelfe,  or  best  beast  of  any  that 
committed  felony  or  trespass  in  the  forest,  and  fled  for  the 
same,  the  lord  having  the  residue. 

The  forest  of  Delamere,  as  it  was  afterwards  called,  was  dis- 
afforested by  Act  of  Parliament  in  1812.  Various  interesting 
particulars  are  given  by  Ormerod,  chiefly  taken  from  the 
Harl.  MSS. 


A  joint  eyre  was  held  at  Chester  for  the  forests  of  "  Wirrall, 
Mara  et  Moudrem,"  in  August,  1347,  which  has  hitherto 
escaped  the  attention  of  county  historians.  It  was  over  twenty 
years  since  the  last  of  these  pleas  had  been  held.  Thomas  de 
Ferrars  was  the  justice  in  charge  of  the  pleas.  A  considerable 
number  of  claims  were  brought  forward,  supported  by  charters 
which  were  enrolled.  Among  them  were  the  claims  of  the 
abbots  of  Chester,  Basingwerk,  and  Chester.  One  of  the  lay 
claims  was  that  of  William  de  Stanley,  as  chief  forester  of 
Wirral,  to  hunt  hares  and  foxes  with  greyhounds  at  all  times 
of  the  year  ;  and  that  of  John  de  Pennesley  to  dig  turves,  burn 
charcoal,  and  to  obtain  litter  at  any  time  of  the  year  in  Wirral 
forest,  and  to  hunt  with  greyhounds  and  other  dogs  on  foot,  as 
well  as  large  rights  of  pasturage.  But  some  of  the  claimants 
overreached  themselves,  and  were  fined  for  making  claims 
which  they  failed  to  establish.  Among  those  who  were  thus 
mulcted  were  the  abbot  of  Basingwerk,  40^.  ;  the  abbot  of 
Vale  Royal,  2u.,  and  Robert  de  Bradeford  and  Robert  de 
Swynnerton  half  a  mark  each. 

There  were  a  very  great  number  of  cases  of  purpresture  or 
encroachment  at  these  pleas,  showing  that  the  regard  that  pre- 
ceded the  pleas  must  have  been  a  thorough  one.  As  examples, 
the  following  may  be  briefly  mentioned :  John  Hotherinde 
was  indicted  for  building  a  certain  house  without  warrant ;  he 
was  declared  in  mercy,  and  the  house  was  ordered  to  be 
levelled.  Richard  de  Trafford  had  enclosed  five  acres  without 
warrant ;  he  was  in  mercy,  and  the  fences  were  to  be  destroyed 
and  the  land  thrown  open.  Robert  le  Hog  was  charged  with 
taking  eighty  acres  of  moor  and  marsh  in  the  parish  of  Wim- 
balds  Trafford  for  agisting  his  own  beasts  without  warrant,  to 

THE    FORESTS   OF   CHESHIRE          135 

the  annual  value  of  40^.,  and  this  for  the  last  twenty  years,  so 
that  there  was  neither  agistment  nor  pannage  for  anyone 
else  ;  he  was  declared  in  mercy,  and  the  eighty  acres  were  to 
be  taken  from  him.  In  another  case  a  man  had  erected  a  mill 
without  licence,  and  the  building  was  ordered  to  be  pulled 
down  ;  and  in  another  case  a  man  was  in  mercy  for  opening  a 
marl  pit. 

The  vert  presentments  of  Wirral  forest  were  exceedingly 
numerous.  They  were  all  cases  of  felling  trees,  not  mere 
lopping.  Their  values  varied  from  2s.  to  40-?.  Like  present- 
ments were  also  very  numerous  from  Mara  and  Moudrem  ;  the 
value  charges,  in  addition  to  court  fines,  varied  from  2s.  to  2os. 
In  some  cases  the  transgressions  were  of  a  wholesale  character, 
such  as  that  of  Thomas  de  Erdeswyk,  who  had  felled  sixty 
oaks.  He  was  dead,  but  his  wife  appeared,  and  was  fined  a 
mark.  Sir  William  de  Legh,  deputy  keeper  of  Mara  and  Mou- 
drem under  Richard  Doun,  was  charged  by  the  jury  with 
selling  wood  out  of  the  lordship  to  the  value  of  more  than 
;£ioo,  and  the  same  in  conjunction  with  the  sub-forester,  doing 
the  like  in  the  forest  of  Moudrem  to  the  extent  of  100  marks. 
It  is  interesting  to  note  the  appreciation  shown  for  a  well- 
grown  and  beautiful  tree  ;  Peter  de  Thornton  was  charged  with 
felling  and  carry  ing  off  una  pulcherrima  guercus,  valued  at4cw. 

The  venison  cases  show  that  there  was  an  abundance  of 
game,  both  red  and  fallow.  Richard  Spark  was  charged  with 
killing  many  harts  and  hinds,  as  well  as  bucks  and  does,  in 
Delamere  forest,  the  exact  number  not  being  known.  In 
Wirral  forest  two  men  who  had  killed  a  stag  were  released 
from  imprisonment  on  paying  the  respective  fines  of  40^.  and 
2os.  In  another  case  in  the  same  forest  the  transgressors  had 
been  hunting  deer  with  a  strangely  mixed  pack,  consisting  of 
a  greyhound,  a  mastiff,  and  a  cur. 

The  presentments  at  these  pleas  were  made,  for  Wirral,  by 
William  de  Stanley,  keeper  ;  Henry  de  Acton,  riding  forester, 
and  by  Richard  de  Haydock  and  five  other  foresters  ;  those  for 
Mara  et  Moudrem,  or  Delamere,  by  Richard  Doun,  keeper, 
Thomas  de  Clyve,  riding  forester,  and  by  Robert  Shefeld  and 
six  other  foresters. 



Cheshire  possessed  another  considerable  forest  on  the  east 
side  of  the  county.  About  a  third  of  the  large  hundred  of 
Macclesfield,  including  the  town  of  Macclesfield  and  eighteen 
other  townships,  was  forest  even  at  the  time  of  the  Domesday 
Survey.  It  was  usually  known  as  the  forest  of  Macclesfield  ; 
but  in  its  earlier  life,  from  its  position  on  the  borders  of  the 
palatinate,  it  was  often  called  the  forest  of  Lyme.  The  heredi- 
tary forestership  or  keepership  of  this  forest,  in  conjunction 
with  that  of  Leek,  was  granted  to  Richard  Davenport,  of 
Davenport,  towards  the  end  of  the  twelfth  century,  by  Hugh 
Kevelioc,  Earl  of  Chester.  It  continued  attached  to  the  earl- 
dom of  Chester  until  its  termination,  when  it  passed  to  the 
Crown.  But  at  an  early  date  the  forest  area  was  materially 
lessened  by  a  variety  of  Crown  grants.  A  considerable  por- 
tion, however,  was  not  alienated  from  the  Crown  until  after 
the  Restoration.  Up  to  the  period  of  the  Commonwealth  the 
open  forest  was  fairly  well  stocked  with  deer.  Under  the  chief 
forester  there  were  eight  hereditary  foresters-of-fee,  bound  to  the 
performance  of  certain  duties  (often  exercised  by  deputy),  and 
possessed  of  considerable  liberties.  In  the  time  of  Edward  I. 
the  foresters'  liberties  included  the  hunting  of  hare,  fox,  squirrel, 
and  cat,  with  rights  of  fishing,  fowling,  and  nutting.  In  addi- 
tion to  pannage  and  pasturage  liberties,  they  also  claimed  the 
forearm  (spandd)  of  deer  taken  in  the  forest,  and  all  of  any 
deer  found  dead  in  the  forest,  save  the  four  limbs,  which  went 
to  the  manor  of  Macclesfield. 

Swainmotes  were  regularly  held  at  Macclesfield,  and  forest 
pleas,  from  time  to  time,  in  the  same  town,  under  the  justice  of 
Chester.  Ormerod  (iii.  539)  gives  a  transcript  of  a  swainmote 
of  this  forest  temp.  Elizabeth,  and  a  few  other  particulars  ;  but 
the  history  of  this  forest  remains  practically  unwritten,  and  not 
for  lack  of  material. 


THE    ancient    forest  of    Needwood   was    situated    in    the 
northern   extremity  of  the  hundred  of  Offlow,  and  in 
the  four  parishes  of  Tutbury,  Hanbury,  Tatenhill,  and 
Yoxall.      It  was  famed   not  only  for  the  beauty,  extent,  and 
size  of  its  timber,  but  more  especially  for  the  richness  of  its 
pasture  land. 

The  earliest  particulars  with  regard  to  Needwood  forest, 
whilst  it  was  yet  under  the  control  of  the  Ferrers,  occur  in  the 
minister's  accounts  for  1255-6.  The  foresters  named  for  Tut- 
bury ward  were  Robert  Coan  and  Robert  de  Wynfleth ;  among 
the  receipts  were  13^.  lod.  for  the  sale  of  dead  wood,  3^.  ^d. 
for  the  sale  of  forty  customary  rent  hens,  JS.  %d.  for  agistment 
of  cattle,  7-r.  8d.,  and  for  a  charcoal-burner's  licence  for  ten 
and  a  half  weeks,  i  is.  ^d.  The  court  fines  of  this  ward  in- 
cluded several  penalties  of  6d.  for  collecting  nuts,  and  one 
for  charcoal  burning  without  a  licence,  but  were  chiefly  for  vert 
offences.  The  total  ward  receipts  were  £2  i8s.  6d.  Barton 
ward  produced  £4.  gs.  8d.  ;  Marchington  ward,  £3  i6.r.  i\\d.  ; 
and  Uttoxeter  ward,  £2  gs.  id.  The  swine  turned  out  in  the 
forest  for  pannage  amounted  to  227,  of  which  twelve  went  for 
tithe,  six  in  alms,  one  to  the  steward,  and  one  to  the  chief 

(  On  the  attainder  of  Robert  Earl  Ferrers  in  1266,  his  confis- 
cated estates  were  granted  by  Henry  III.  to  his  son  Edmund, 
afterwards  created  Earl  of  Lancaster.  One  of  the  finest  portions 
of  these  estates,  afterwards  known  as  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster, 
was  the  honor  of  Tutbury,  and  within  its  limits  was  the  splendidly 
wooded  and  exceptionally  fertile  stretch  of  Needwood  forest. 
An  extent  of  the  lands  of  Edmund,  the  king's  brother,  drawn 


up  1298,  gives  definite  particulars  relative  to  Needwood  forest. 
It  was  then  divided  into  the  five  wards  of  Yoxall,  Barton, 
Tutbury,  Marchington,  and  Uttoxeter. 

In  Yoxall  ward  the  agistment  of  cattle  produced  30^.,  the 
sale  of  bark  of  lime  trees  14^.  $d.  the  pannage  of  swine  30^., 
and  court  fees  and  escapes  6s.  8d.  The  sum  of  'js.  yd.  was  also 
realised  by  the  sale  of  eighty-eight  hens,  the  customary  payment 
of  the  tenants.  In  this  ward  was  Rowley  Park,  the  profits  of 
which  in  herbage,  mast,  and  wood  was  £i  6s.  8d.  The  whole 
profits  of  the  ward  came  to  £13  i$s. 

The  profits  of  the  ward  of  Barton  from  the  like  sources  were 
,£5  6s.  gd.  Barton  Park  was  in  this  ward,  together  with  a  hay 
called  High  Lindes. 

Tutbury  ward,  including  the  parks  of  Rolleston,  Hanbury, 
and  Stockley,  and  Castlehay,  produced  £12  los.  8d. 

The  hens,  agistment,  pannage,  woodmote  fees,  etc.,  of 
Marchington  ward,  with  the  park  of  Agardsley,  made  receipts 
to  the  amount  of  £6  is.  Sd. 

The  like  sources  in  Uttoxeter  ward,  together  with  the  herb- 
age and  mast  of  a  hay  called  the  More,  produced  ,£3  i8s.  q.d. 

The  annual  value  of  the  whole  forest,  etc.  (apart  from  all 
demesne  lands  and  manorial  rights,  which  were  ten  times  the 
value  of  the  forest),  amounted  at  this  date  to  ,£41  i  is.  $d. 

There  is  also  a  full  record  extant  of  the  forest  accounts  for 
1313-14.  Robert  de  Cruce  was  the  receiver  of  Tutbury  ward. 
The  receipts  included  5^.  $d.  for  the  sale  of  forty-two  hens  ; 
2s.  8d.  for  wood  ;  2s.  for  passage  of  carts  and  pack-horses  ; 
26s.  id.  for  agistment  of  cattle  ;  103^.  for  agistment  in  Castle- 
hay;  25.?.  qd.  for  the  like  in  Stokely  Park,  and  12^.  in  Hanbury 
Park;  Jis.  2d.  for  windstrewn  boughs  for  deer  in  winter; 
9-r.  for  shingles  ;  £8  for  all  underwood  in  the  ward  and  Castle- 
hay  sold  for  deer  in  winter ;  £8  for  the  like  in  Rolleston 
Park,  and  £2  in  Hanbury  Park ;  gd.  for  honey  and  wax ; 
2s.  q.d.  for  sale  of  a  stray  bullock  ;  £5  15^.  6d.  in  woodmote  fees; 
3.?.  $^d.  for  sale  of  167  old  pales  of  Stokely  Park,  and  23^. 
for  the  old  pales  of  Hanbury  Park ;  yielding  a  total  of 
£51  IQS.  q.d.  The  expenses  came  to  ^43  i8s.  ^\d.  ;  the  wages 
of  the  men  getting  the  deer-browse  in  the  ward  and  Castlehay 
amounted  to  i6s.  4^.;  making  167  new  pales  for  Stokely  Park, 
IQS.  4f«f.  ;  and  3,?.  for  lock  and  door  for  the  forest  lodge  at 


Birkley.  The  wages  of  the  parkers  of  Hanbury  and  Rolleston 
were  each  15^.  2d.,  whilst  that  of  the  parker  of  Castlehay  was 
3OJ.  ^d. 

The  receipts  of  Barton  ward,  Ralph  Laying  receiver,  were 
£13  \2s.  yd.,  and  the  expenses  £13  5-r.  2d.  John  Don  was  the 
receiver  of  Marchington  ;  receipts  .£27  2s.  7%d.,  expenses 
£28  2s.  >]\d.  Robert  de  Tuppeleye  was  receiver  of  Uttoxeter  ; 
receipts  £50  15.?.  o^d.,  expenses  £22  I2S.  6\d.  The  receipts  of 
Yoxall  ward,  Richard  Coking  receiver,  were  £34  ijs.  8^d., 
whilst  the  expenses  were  £29  igs.  jd. 

In  the  accounts  of  1321-2,  the  expenses  include  ^d.  a  day 
to  a  carpenter  engaged  for  three  days  in  mending  the  gates 
of  the  Castlehay  Park,  \\d.  a  day  for  three  days  for  fourteen 
men  engaged  in  ditching,  and  3^.  for  an  iron  for  branding  the 

Woodmote  courts  were  held  for  each  ward.  A  forest  roll 
of  1336-7  (in  bad  condition)  gives  2S.  6d.  as  the  receipts  of  the 
woodmote  of  Tutbury  ward,  held  on  February  nth,  in  vert 
fines,  chiefly  for  taking  whitethorn.  The  taking  of  a  cartload 
of  greenwood  out  of  Hanbury  Park  incurred  a  fine  of  6d.  The 
fines  for  vert  trespasses  in  Castlehay  amounted  to  qs.  4^.,  in- 
cluding i$d.  for  taking  a  horseload  of  old  wood.  The  fines 
about  this  date  at  the  court  of  Marchington  ward  amounted 
to  2s.  iod.,  and  included  the  straying  of  foals  in  the  wood. 

The  woodmote  courts  of  the  five  wards,  held  about  Martin- 
mas, 1370,  brought  in  a  larger  amount  of  fines:  Tutbury, 
gs.  id. ;  Marchington,  9^-.  qd. ;  Yoxall,  3^.  iod. ;  Barton,  3^.; 
and  Uttoxeter,  2s.  iod.  The  penalties  were  chiefly  for  remov- 
ing horse,  cart,  or  wagon  loads  of  wood. 

A  full  woodmote  roll  of  1-2  Richard  II.  gives  £7  6s.  jd.  as 
the  total  of  the  fines  of  all  the  courts  of  that  year.  A  sledge- 
load  of  wood,  called  drag,  or  draw,  is  of  frequent  occurrence  in 
this  roll.  The  vert  fines  varied  from  2d.  to  8d.  a  case.  At  a 
•  Marchington  ward  woodmote,  there  were  four  cases  of  removing 
cartloads  of  old  wood,  four  of  green  wood,  and  two  of  a  mixture 
of  old  and  green  ;  the  horseloads  were  thirteen  in  number,  and 
the  sledgeloads  sixteen. 

The  pannage  fees  of  the  whole  forest,  termed  "  tak,"  realised 
in  1400  £5  gs.  $^d.  The  total  forest  receipts  of  that  year 
amounted  to  £43  is.  \\d. 


At  an  unusually  heavy  Marchington  woodmote  in  1403,  when 
the  fines  amounted  to  us.  qd.,  the  penalty  in  each  case  for 
a  cartload  of  wood  was  8d.,  and  for  a  horseload  6d.  An  in- 
quisition held  that  year  in  Tutbury  ward  convicted  Robert 
Amond,  John  Roberg,  John  Fuklyn,  and  Giles  Fuklyn,  monks 
of  the  Cluniac  priory  of  Tutbury,  of  breaking  into  the  castle 
park,  on  Thursday,  after  the  feast  of  St.  Margaret,  and  there 
killing  a  doe  and  a  fawn.  This  is  one  of  the  very  few  cases 
of  conviction  of  monks  for  venison  trespass.  Woodmotes 
of  this  year  were  held  at  Birkley,  or  Byrkley,  the  site  of  the 
chief  lodge. 

A  few  years  later  the  Benedictine  monks  of  Burton  were 
in  trouble,  but  only  for  wood  trespass. 

Rolls  relative  to  the  minor  forest  courts  of  Needwood  for  the 
fifteenth  and  first  half  of  the  sixteenth  centuries  are  exception- 
ally numerous. 

At  the  forest  woodmote  held  at  Birkley  on  i5th  May,  1450, 
various  venison  trespasses  were  presented,  such  as  making 
snares  (retia)  and  buckstalls,  breaking  into  parks,  hunting 
with  greyhounds,  and  killing  several  fallow  deer.  There  were 
seventeen  separate  charges,  some  of  which  involved  several 

Various  other  records  of  woodmotes  held  in  the  last  half 
of  the  fifteenth  century  are  well  worth  consulting. 

At  the  woodmote  held  on  3rd  June,  1524,  at  Birkley  Lodge, 
thirty-one  trespassers  in  Tutbury  ward  were  fined  in  small  sums 
for  ordinary  lopping  offences — one  for  breaking  park  pales, 
another  2s.  for  cutting  eight  oaks,  and  two  men  3-r.  q.d.  each 
for  carrying  off  two  cartloads  of  wood.  The  fines  for  this  ward 
amounted  to  18^.  6d.  At  the  same  court  the  fines  in  Barton 
ward  were  $s.  yd.,  in  Yoxall  QS.  8d.,  in  Uttoxeter  2s.  10^., 
and  in  Marchington  13^.  gd. 

In  Sir  Oswald  Mosley's  History  ofTamworth  (1832)  various 
interesting  particulars  of  the  forest  customs  of  Needwood  and 
Duffield  are  set  forth  at  length. 

The  abbot  of  Burton-on-Trent  and  the  prior  of  Tutbury  held 
special  privileges  and  peculiar  rights  in  the  forest  of  Needwood. 
One  of  the  many  unforeseen  unhappy  results  of  the  wholesale 
suppression  of  the  religious  houses  was  the  throwing  into 
confusion  of  a  variety  of  forest  customs.  Those  on  whom 





the  monastic  estates  were  conferred  not  unnaturally  endeavoured 
to  sustain  claims  that  had  not  been  resisted  when  made  by 
the  public  almoners  of  a  district.  Considerable  conflict  arose 
with  regard  to  such  matters  at  Needwood,  and  the  absence 
of  the  checks  exercised  by  the  woodwards,  appointed  by  various 
religious  houses  in  most  English  forests,  was  one  of  the  chief 
causes  that  led  in  this  district  to  much  wrongdoing  on  the  part 
of  the  officials. 

The  detection  of  a  particular  keeper  in  a  grave  case  of 
peculation  in  1540  brought  about  a  careful  inquiry  into  the 
general  conduct  of  the  officials.  It  was  then  ascertained  that 
in  a  single  year  the  keeper  of  Tutbury  Wood  had  .cut  down 
and  sold  45  loads  of  timber,  the  keeper  of  Marchingdon,  in 
loads  ;  the  keeper  of  Barton,  170  loads  ;  the  keeper  of  Yoxall, 
124;  and  the  keeper  of  Uttoxeter,  64.  No  forest  could  possibly 
stand  the  drain  of  an  annual  sale  of  841  loads.  The  fraudulent 
keepers  were  discharged,  and  a  certain  amount  of  reformation 

A  survey  of  the  parks  of  Needwood  was  taken  in  the  reign 
of  Philip  and  Mary,  when  the  jury  found  that  the  deer  of 
the  castle  park  numbered  137,  that  those  in  Rolleston  Park 
numbered  105  ;  those  of  Stokeley  Park,  160 ;  those  of  Barton 
Park,  104  ;  those  of  Shireholt  Park,  144  ;  those  of  High  Lynns 
Park,  127  ;  and  that  Castlehay  Park  had  been  disparked  in 
favour  of  the  king's  "race  of  great  horses,"  and  Hanbury 
Park  reserved  for  the  king's  stud  mares.  A  great  waste  of 
trees  was  in  progress,  and  it  was  known  that  many  had  been 
cut  down  without  any  warrant,  as  the  stools  still  standing  showed 
no  sign  of  the  mark  of  the  king's  axe.  Among  the  claims  then 
made  by  the  tenants  or  commoners  was  that  of  "hoar  lynt." 
This  term  signified  the  white  wood  of  the  lime  or  linden 
tree  after  the  basters  had  stripped  such  timber  of  the  bast  or 
inner  bark  for  cordage  or  mats. 

,     The  survey  of  the  first  of  Elizabeth,  cited  at  length  in  Shaw's 
Staffordshire,  says  : — 

"The  forest  or  chase  of  Needwood  is  in  compasse  by  estimation 
twenty-three  miles  and  a  half,  and  the  nearest  part  thereof  is  distant 
from  the  Castle  of  Tutbury  but  one  mile.  In  it  are  7,869  acres  and 
an  halfe,  and  very  forest-like  ground,  thinly  sett  with  old  oakes  and 
timber  trees,  well  replenished  with  coverts  of  underwood  and  thornes, 


which  might  be  copiced  in  divers  parts  thereof  for  increase  of  wood 
and  timber,  lately  sore  decayed  and  spoyled." 

After  giving  the  bounds  and  acreage  of  the  four  wards 
then  extant,  and  naming  the  former  fifth  ward  of  Uttoxeter, 
the  survey  enumerates  the  ten  parks  within  the  forest,  but 
Rowley  Park  had  been  granted  by  Henry  VIII.  to  Justice 
Fitzherbert  and  his  heirs. 

The  size  of  the  nine  parks  of  Castle,  Castlehay,  Rolleston, 
Stokeley,  Hanbury,  Barton,  Shireholt,  Highlands,  and  Agards- 
ley,  with  the  number  of  deer  and  condition  of  timber  in  each, 
are  also  duly  set  forth. 

Elizabethan  records  of  Needwood  woodmotes  are  numerous. 
A  woodmote  was  held  at  Birkley  on  iyth  August,  1581,  before 
George,  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  high  steward  of  the  whole  honor 
of  Tutbury,  in  person.  The  jury  were  William  Rolleston, 
Esquire ;  Humphrey  Minors,  William  Agard,  and  Arthur 
Whittington,  gentlemen,  and  eleven  yeomen.  The  con- 
victions for  various  forms  of  vert  offences  were  unusually 
numerous  at  this  court,  as  well  as  a  few  cases  of  pasturing 
sheep  and  cart-horses  in  the  forest.  The  penalties  exacted 
amounted  to  £9  i$s.  4^. 

The  next  woodmote  was  held  at  Tutbury  on  i6th  July, 
1582,  when  the  fines  reached  the  exceptionally  high  total  of 
£22  is.  $d.  Two  or  three  persons  were  fined  on  this  occasion 
for  not  taking  their  pigs  out  of  the  forest  wards  during  'Me 
fence  monethe." 

At  the  pannage  court  held  at  Newborough  in  November  of 
this  year,  the  fees  for  the  pigs  amounted  to  48.?.  \\d. 

There  are  several  rolls  extant  of  woodmote  courts  of  the 
reigns  of  James  I.  and  Charles  I.,  but  they  contain  nothing  of 
particular  moment. 

In  1654  ^e  forest  of  Needwood  was  offered  for  sale  "for  the 
satisfaction  of  the  soldiery."  The  knights,  gentlemen,  and 
other  inhabitants  of  twenty-one  of  the  adjoining  villages 
and  townships  thereupon  petitioned  Oliver  Cromwell,  point- 
ing out  the  injustice  of  enclosing  the  forest  area — then  reduced 
to  5,600  acres,  and  only  worth  about  $s.  an  acre — whereby  the 
old  charter  rights  of  many  would  be  lost,  and  a  great  number 
of  ancient  cottagers  deprived  of  the  relief  afforded  by  the 


commons.  It  was  also  pointed  out  that  the  county  of  Stafford 
had  already  paid  near  £8,000  towards  the  soldiery  on  their  dis- 
banding. The  last  reason  offered  against  the  sale  was,  "That 
the  forest  of  Needwood  is  mearly  formed  by  nature  for  pleasure, 
no  forest  in  England  being  comparable  thereunto." 

This  petition  caused  the  project  of  the  sale  to  be  abandoned  ; 
but  in  1656  a  compromise  was  arrived  at,  whereby  commis- 
sioners were  appointed  to  consider  all  claims,  and  in  1658  it 
was  agreed  that  half  the  open  forest  and  one-tenth  of  the 
timber  should  be  allotted  to  the  freeholders,  and  the  remainder 
be  continued  as  the  property  of  the  State.  The  project  went 
so  far  as  to  have  the  respective  divisions  for  the  different  town- 
ships staked  out  and  allotted.  But  the  Restoration  intervened 
ere  the  work  was  accomplished,  and  Charles  II.  decided  to 
preserve  the  forest  in  its  original  state. 

It  was  difficult  to  suppress  the  licence  engendered  during 
the  time  of  civil  strife.  Eventually  the  duchy  authorities  over- 
reached themselves  by  attempting  to  impose  a  new  code  of  by- 
laws of  great  severity  and  doubtful  legality. 

About  the  year  1680,  "the  gentlemen,  freeholders  and  others 
who  have  right  of  Common  in  the  Forest  or  Chace  of  Need- 
wood  "  drew  up  a  petition  (printed  as  a  broadsheet)  to  the 
House  of  Commons,  protesting  against  the  arbitrary  orders  of 
Earl  Stamford,  as  chancellor  of  the  duchy,  recently  published, 
and  asking  relief,  as  their  ancient  rights  and  liberties  were 
being  invaded.  The  chief  of  these  orders  were — a  fine  of  IDS. 
and  forfeiture  of  cattle  bearing  a  counterfeit  mark ;  a  fine  of 
£10  apiece  to  the  informer  and  forfeiture  of  cattle  privately 
removed  out  of  the  forest  after  notice  of  a  public  drift ;  a  fine 
of  5-r.,  or  6s.  8d.  in  the  case  of  a  keeper,  for  conveying  grist  to 
any  other  mill  than  the  Wood  Mill  ;  a  month's  imprisonment 
for  taking  any  crabtree,  whitethorn,  holly,  or  hazel  out  of  the 
forest  or  parks  ;  6s.  8d.  fine  for  each  beast  on  any  commoner 
,or  other  person  foddering  cattle  in  the  forest  between  the 
Feast  of  St.  Andrew  and  the  end  of  March  ;  the  forfeiture  of 
all  swine  in  the  forest  save  in  crab-time,  and  a  like  forfeiture 
and  fine  of  3^.  4^.  on  every  swine  insufficiently  rung  ;  sheep 
pasturing  in  forest  to  be  forfeited,  and  i2s.  a  day  fine  for  each 
sheep.  These  orders  and  others  of  a  like  nature  had  appeared 
under  the  great  seal  of  the  duchy,  and  had  been  read  in  all  the 


parish  churches  within  or  about  the  forest  to  the  great  disturb- 
ance of  the  people.  The  petitioners  protested  against  the 
exorbitant  character  of  the  fines  and  forfeitures,  the  setting  up 
of  informers  by  great  rewards,  and  the  imprisonment  of  their 
persons,  claiming  that  such  penalties  could  not  be  imposed 
save  by  Act  of  Parliament. 

Notwithstanding,  however,  the  damage  done  to  the  forest  in 
the  Civil  War,  and  the  little  check  put  upon  depredations  in  the 
earlier  part  of  the  reign  of  Charles  II.,  the  timber  of  Needwood 
was  at  this  period  by  far  the  finest  in  any  English  forest.  A 
careful  survey  made  in  1684  showed  that  the  number  of  good 
trees  in  the  four  wards  was  38,218,  valued  at  ,£25,744  I9J*  6^.  ; 
whilst  those  in  the  parks  brought  up  the  total  to  47,150,  with 
a  complete  value  of  £28,637  us.  6d.  The  hollies  and  under- 
wood were  valued  at  an  additional  £2,000. 

"  Many  of  the  treese  are  of  soe  large  dimensions  and  length,  that 
there  may  be  picked  out  such  great  quantityes  of  excellent  plank  and 
other  tymber,  fitt  for  shipping,  as  is  not  to  be  found  in  any  of  your 
majestie's  other  forests  in  England  ;  most  parts  of  this  where  the  best 
tymber  growes,  lyeing  within  12  or  14  miles  of  the  navigable  parte  of 
the  river  Trent." 

The  abundance  of  the  deer  proved  an  irresistible  temptation 
to  the  poorer  of  the  commoners,  and  though  the  gentlemen  and 
yeomen  did  not  exactly  turn  deer-stealers  themselves,  as  in  some 
of  the  southern  forests,  there  was  much  sympathy  with  the 
poachers,  who  checked  the  depredations  of  the  deer,  and  kept 
the  country  houses  illicitly  supplied  with  venison.  The  parks 
leased  by  the  Crown  to  private  individuals  were  rigorously  pro- 
tected ;  but  the  open  stretches  of  the  forest  in  the  eighteenth 
century,  though  nominally  well  supplied  with  high-born  officials 
and  underkeepers  or  foresters,  were,  to  a  great  extent,  a  prey 
to  marauders. 

An  undated  account  of  the  duchy  forests,  temp.  George  I., 
at  the  Public  Record  Office,  states  that  Needwood  forest  had 
been  granted  to  William  Duke  of  Devonshire,  William  Marquis 
of  Hartington,  and  Henry  Lord  Cavendish,  with  the  offices  of 
steward  of  the  honor,  constable  of  the  Castle  of  Tutbury, 
lieutenant  of  the  forest,  master  of  the  game,  and  bailiff  of  the 
new  liberties.  Castlehay  Park  had  been  granted  in  1677  for 


ninety-nine  years  to  Henry  Seymour.  The  parks  of  Hanbury 
and  Tutbury,  for  a  like  period,  in  1698,  to  Edward  Vernon  ; 
and  two  of  the  other  parks  at  the  same,  and  also  for  ninety-nine 
years,  to  Sir  John  Turton. 

Mr.  Mundy,  the  poet  of  Needwood,  left  it  on  record  that  he 
had  known  and  conversed  with  a  gentleman  of  the  district, 
who  had  been  high-sheriff  of  Staffordshire  in  the  reign  of 
George  II.,  who  used  to  boast  how  many  deer  poachers  he 
had  got  off  when  arrested  by  the  keepers,  and  how  well  they 
used  to  keep  his  table  supplied  with  venison. 

After  considerable  opposition,  Needwood  was  at  last  dis- 
afforested by  special  Act  of  Parliament  in  1804.  The  damage 
done  to  cultivation  by  the  straying  deer  was  no  doubt  exces- 
sive, and  there  were  other  distinct  drawbacks  to  its  continuance 
as  a  forest.  Nevertheless,  the  general  scheme  of  enclosure 
naturally  aroused  keen  resentment  among  the  lovers  of  its 
picturesque  beauties  and  historic  associations.  Mr.  F.  N.  C. 
Mundy,  who  had  printed  a  stilted  poem  in  1776,  called 
Needwood  Forest,  after  the  classical  descriptive  style  then  in 
vogue,  produced,  in  1808,  a  wild  screed  termed  The  Fall  of 
Needwood,  which,  by  its  very  extravagance,  caused  the  utili- 
tarian view  to  be  the  more  appreciated.  The  following  passage 
is  a  fair  example  of  the  character  and  style  of  its  forty-five 
pages : — 

'Twas  Avarice  with  his  harpy  claws, 
Great  Victim  !  rent  thy  guardian  laws  ; 
Loos'd  Uproar  with  his  ruffian  bands  ; 
Bade  Havoc  show  his  crimson'd  hands  ; 
Grinn'd  a  coarse  smile,  as  thy  last  deer 
Dropp'd  in  thy  lap  a  dying1  tear  ; 
Exulted  in  his  schemes  accurst, 
When  thy  pierc'd  heart,  abandon'd,  burst  ; 
And  glozing  on  the  public  good, 
Insidious  demon  !  suck'd  thy  blood. 
Detested  ever  be  tfoat  day, 
Which  left  thee  a  defenceless  prey  ! 
May  never  sun  its  presence  cheer  ! 
|  O  be  it  blotted  from  the  year ! 


There  were  two  other  Staffordshire  forests  besides  Needwood 
-Cannock  Chase  and  Kinver,  both  of  which  require  investi- 


gating.  The  exigencies  of  space  prohibit  more  than  very  brief 
references  to  them  in  these  pages. 

Cannock  Chase,  notwithstanding  its  name,  was  an  exten- 
sive royal  forest.  It  seems  to  have  taken  its  title  from  the  Bishop 
of  Lichfield's  Chase,  fifteen  miles  in  circuit,  which  was  within 
the  forest  limits,  and  proved  a  constant  source  of  grievance  to 
the  king's  foresters.  General  Wrottesley  has  printed  the  pleas 
of  the  forest  of  Cannock  for  1262,  1271,  and  1286,  in  Vol.  V. 
of  Historical  Collections  for  a  History  of  Staffordshire  (1884) ; 
they  abound  in  interest  as  to  the  venison  and  vert  present- 
ments, and  the  assarts  and  wastes  of  woods  that  came  before 
the  justices  at  these  eyres.  A  venison  offender  in  1271  was 
pardoned,  for  the  soul  of  the  king,  because  he  was  poor 
and  a  minstrel,  and  two  others  were  respited  and  forgiven 
non-attendance  because  they  were  in  the  Holy  Land.  One 
Thomas  de  Bromley,  a  very  frequent  malefactor  of  venison, 
and  often  indicted  for  trespasses  in  the  king's  forests  in 
Staffordshire  and  Salop,  was  caught  with  bow  and  arrows 
in  the  bailiwick  of  Teddesley,  on  Tuesday  after  the  Feast 
of  St.  Gregory,  1267,  by  Walter  de  Elmedon,  forester-of-fee 
of  that  bailiwick,  and  Roger  de  Pecham,  riding  forester  for 
the  whole  forest.  The  foresters  challenged  him,  whereupon 
Thomas  climbed  up  an  oak  tree  and  shot  arrows  at  them,  until 
they  took  him  by  force  and  delivered  him  to  the  warden  of  the 
castle  of  Bridgnorth.  There  were  many  presentments  at  this 
eyre  for  the  killing  of  roe  deer. 

Hugh  de  Evesham,  a  former  riding  forester,  with  other  ex- 
foresters,  were  presented  for  stopping  all  carts  passing  through 
their  bailiwicks  with  salt  and  other  merchandise  on  the  high 
roads,  taking  4^.  at  least  in  the  name  of  cheminage,  and  for 
other  carts,  I.F.,  and  in  some  cases  2s.  And  this  was  done 
when  the  carts  were  not  laden  with  timber  or  brushwood  or 
anything  from  the  forest,  and  when  the  carters  were  committing 
no  forest  trespass. 

In  1276  when  the  king's  huntsmen  were  hunting  in  Cannock 
Chase,  they  put  up  a  hart  with  their  dogs  and  followed  it  to 
Brewood  Park.  There  John  de  la  Wytemore  came  up  with 
bow  and  arrow  and  shot  at  it ;  the  hart  fled  out  of  the  forest  to  the 
fishpond  of  the  nuns  of  Brewood.  John  followed  it  and  dragged 
it  out  dead  from  the  pond.  Then  John  Gyffard,  of  Chyllynton, 


came  up,  said  he  had  pursued  the  hart,  and  claimed  the  whole 
of  it.  They  skinned  it ;  John  Gyffard  took  half  of  it,  and  the 
nuns  had  the  other  half.  This  case  was  brought  before  the 
justices  at  the  eyre  of  1286.  The  nuns  were  pardoned  for 
the  good  of  the  king's  soul,  as  they  were  poor.  Although 
the  hart  was  taken  outside  the  forest,  it  was  the  king's  chase 
and  put  up  by  his  dogs  within  the  forest,  and  taken  in  front  of 
them  against  the  assize.  The  sheriff  was  therefore  ordered 
to  arrest  the  two  Johns  ;  they  were  taken  and  committed  to 
prison,  but  released  on  paying  the  respective  fines  of  a  mark 
and  2os.  The  case  of  the  wolf  killing  a  buck  in  this  forest  in 
1281  has  been  already  cited. 

The  Close  Rolls  of  Edward  I.  give  evidence,  from  the 
various  royal  gifts,  of  a  good  supply  of  fallow  deer,  with 
a  smaller  number  of  red  deer  on  the  forest  or  chase  of  Cannock. 
In  August,  1277,  the  king  ordered  the  keeper  of  Cannock 
Forest  to  permit  William  de  Middleton,  Archdeacon  of  Canter- 
bury, to  take  by  his  men  all  the  fat  harts  and  bucks  that  were 
fit  to  kill  that  season,  and  to  aid  and  counsel  the  men  in  so 
doing.  In  the  same  month,  1279,  the  king  granted  Roger 
Mortimer  ten  bucks  and  two  harts  from  Cannock.  In  1280 
Anthony  Bek  had  four  bucks,  Richard  de  Tybetot  the  same 
number,  and  Philip  Marmyon  three.  In  1282,  Ralph  de 
Hengham  had  six  bucks,  Henry  de  Shaventon,  Reginald  de 
Legh,  and  Otto  de  Grandi  Sono  four  each,  and  the  Prior  of 
Stone  one,  all  out  of  this  forest  as  gifts  from  the  king.  Ralph 
Basset,  of  Drayton,  had  six  bucks  in  1283.  Roger  Lestrange, 
justice  of  the  forest,  was  instructed,  in  July,  1284,  to  cause  the 
Bishop  of  Worcester  to  have  twelve  bucks  of  the  king's  gift 
out  of  the  forest  of  Cannock  ;  and  in  the  same  year  Reginald 
de  Legh  received  two  bucks.  On  December  28th,  1284,  the 
king  sent  word  to  Roger  Lestrange  that  if  the  order  given  in 
the  summer  for  the  bucks  for  the  Bishop  of  Worcester  had  not 
been  executed,  it  was  to  be  changed  to  six  live  bucks  and  six 
live  does  from  Cannock,  to  stock  that  prelate's  park  at  Alve- 

The  king  was  also  generous  with  timber  gifts,  oaks  from 
Cannock  for  building  purposes  being  bestowed  on  the  priory 
of  St.  Thomas,  Stafford,  the  priory  of  Cokehill,  and  the 
Franciscan  friars  of  Lichfield.  When  the  king  was  at  Bre- 


wood  in  1278,  near  Wolverhampton,  a  fire  broke  out  ;  the 
justice  of  the  forest  was  ordered  to  supply  from  Can  nock  four 
oaks  to  Henry  le  Mercer,  of  Brewood,  Dean  of  Lichfield, 
four  oaks  to  Philip  le  Clerk,  and  two  oaks  to  Widow  Amice,  to 
aid  in  the  rebuilding  of  their  lately  burnt  houses. 


The  presentments  at  the  Staffordshire  eyres  in  Edward  I.'s 
reign  for  the  smaller  forest  of  Kinver  have  also  been  printed  by 
General  Wrottesley. 

The  Close  Rolls  of  the  same  reign  contain  many  references 
to  the  forest  of  Kinver.  In  August,  1278,  the  king  instructed 
Henry  de  Ribbeford  to  cause  thirty  bucks  to  be  taken 
for  him  in  the  forests  of  Kinver  and  Cannock,  as  should 
be  agreed  upon  between  the  respective  keepers.  Grimbald 
Pauncefote  obtained  three  Kinver  bucks  in  the  same  year. 
In  1281  four  live  hinds  were  granted  to  Ralph  Basset  from 
Kinver  to  help  to  stock  his  park  of  Drayton.  A  further  proof 
that  red  as  well  as  fallow  roamed  over  Kinver  is  the  grant 
of  six  harts  to  Edmund  Mortimer  in  1286.  Two  years  later 
John,  the  son  of  Philip,  the  keeper  of  Kinver  Forest,  was 
ordered  to  deliver  all  eyries  of  falcons  found  that  year  in 
the  forest  to  John  Corbet,  the  king's  falconer,  to  be  kept  for 
the  king's  use. 

In  1282  the  king  ordered  the  release  from  prison  of  Richard 
Saladyn,  who  was  in  gaol  at  Bridgnorth  for  venison  trespass. 
Bridgnorth  was  the  prison  for  this  forest,  as  well  as  for  Can- 
nock  ;  the  official  calendar  of  these  Close  Rolls  has  made  the 
amusing  mistake  of  putting  Saladyn  in  prison  at  Bruges,  in 
Belgium  !  Bruges  was  the  usual  Latinised  form  for  the  town 
of  Bridgnorth. 

Among  Edward  I.'s  timber  grants  from  Kinver  were  six  oaks 
to  Margery  de  Wigornia,  a  nun  of  St.  Wystan,  Worcester ; 
six  oaks  to  the  master  of  St.  Wolfstan's,  Worcester  ;  ten  oaks 
for  fuel  to  Contisse  Loretti,  wife  of  Roger  de  Clifford,  a  forest 
justice  ;  and  twenty  oaks  for  shingles  to  Anthony  Bek. 

The  perambulation  roll  of  1299-1300  shows  the  considerable 
extent  of  Kinver  Forest  at  that  date.  Part  of  Arley,  with  Ash- 
wood  and  Pensnet  Chase,  in  addition  to  the  parish  of  Kinver, 


were  included  in  the  forest,  as  well  as  part  of  Morfe  in  Shrop- 
shire ;  but  the  greater  part  of  Kinver  Forest  then  lay  in  Wor- 
cestershire, for  it  embraced  Pechmore,  Hagley,  Old  Swinford, 
Chaddesley,  Kidderminster,  Wolverley,  Churchill,  and  part 
of  Feckenham,  in  addition  to  Tordebig,  in  Warwickshire. 

Nevertheless,  although  most  of  its  area  was  in  Worcester- 
shire, and  its  prison  in  Shropshire,  Kinver  Forest,  taking 
its  title  from  the  small  Staffordshire  town  of  that  name,  was 
always  reckoned  as  a  forest  of  the  last  of  these  three  shires. 


THE  king's  forest  of  the  High  Peak  was  a  wild  district 
that  formed  part  of  the  patrimony  of  the  Anglo-Saxon 
kings,  and  was  royal  demesne  at  the  time  of  the  Great 
Survey.  The  parish  of  Hope  and  other  adjacent  lands  were 
granted  by  the  Conqueror  in  1068  to  William  Peverel  in  con- 
junction with  numerous  lordships  in  Derbyshire,  Nottingham- 
shire, and  other  counties  which  were  known  as  the  honor  of 
Peverel.  On  the  south  side  of  the  Vale  of  Hope,  in  a  place 
of  remarkable  natural  strength,  Peverel  built  a  castle,  on  the 
site  of  a  former  stronghold,  which  had  given  the  name  of 
Castleton  to  the  cluster  of  houses  below  it.  Twenty  years 
later  the  district  around  is  styled  the  land  of  Peverel's  Castle 
in  Peak  Forest  (terrain  castelli  in  Pechefers  Willelmi  Peurel). 
The  district  of  Longdendale  was  added  to  the  Peverel  property 
in  the  time  of  Henry  I.  On  Peverel's  death  in  1114,  his  vast 
possessions  passed  to  his  son,  but  in  1155  a  younger  Peverel 
was  disinherited  for  poisoning  the  Earl  of  Chester,  and  all  his 
estates  were  forfeited  to  the  Crown.  From  that  time  until  1372, 
the  castle  and  forest  of  the  Peak  were  in  the  hands  of  the  Crown, 
when  they  were  transferred  to  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster,  and 
thence  returned  to  the  Crown  by  absorption  in  the  following 

At  the  beginning  of  the  twelfth  century,  the  forest  of  the 
Peak  included  the  whole  of  the  north-west  corner  of  the  county. 
The  Hope  district  embraced  the  seven  berewicks  of  Aston, 
Edale,  "  Muckedswell,"  half  of  Offerton,  Shatton,  Stoke,  and 
Tideswell  ;  whilst  Longdendale  included  the  whole  of  the 
wide-spreading  parish  of  Glossop,  and  much  that  was  extra 


THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH    PEAK     151 

parochial.  According  to  somewhat  later  parochial  divisions, 
the  forest  comprised  the  whole  of  the  parishes  of  Glossop, 
Chapel-en-le-Frith,  Castleton,  and  Hope,  with  most  of  Tides- 
well,  considerable  portions  of  Bakewell,  and  part  of  Hather- 

It  formed  altogether  an  area  of  40!  square  miles. 

From  the  time  when  Longendale  was  added  to  the  honor  of 
Peverel,  in  the  days  of  Henry  L,  the  Peak  Forest  was  divided 
into  three  districts,  each  having  its  own  set  of  foresters,  but  all 
under  one  chief  official.  These  three  districts  were  known  as 
Campana  (i.e.  the  Champagne,  or  open  country)  on  the  south 
and  south-west,  Longdendale  on  the  north  and  north-west, 
and  Hopedale  on  the  east. 

The  bounds  of  the  forest,  as  set  forth  in  the  Forest  Pleas  held 
in  1286,  were  as  follows,  given  in  an  English  dress  :— 

"The  metes  and  bounds  of  the  forest  of  the  Peak  begin  on  the 
south  at  the  New  Place  of  Goyt,  and  thence  by  the  river  Goyt  as  far 
as  the  river  Etherow  ;  and  so  by  the  river  Etherow  to  Langley  Croft 
at  Longdenhead  ;  thence  by  a  certain  footpath  to  the  head  of  Der- 
went ;  and  from  the  head  of  Derwent  to  a  place  called  Mythomstede 
(Mytham  Bridge)  ;  and  from  Mytham  Bridge  to  the  river  Bradwell ; 
and  from  the  river  Bradwell  as  far  as  a  certain  place  called  Hucklow  ; 
and  from  Hucklow  to  the  great  dell  (cavam,  cave?)  of  Hazelbache  ; 
and  from  that  dell  as  far  as  Little  Hucklow  ;  and  from  Hucklow 
to  the  brook  of  Tideswell,  and  so  to  the  river  Wye  ;  and  from  the 
Wye  ascending  up  to  Buxton,  and  so  on  to  the  New  Place  of  Goyt." 

In  the  case  of  a  considerable  number  of  forests  there  was 
much  variation  in  their  bounds  subsequent  to  1300  ;  but  the 
limits  of  Peak  Forest  remained  to  its  close  the  same  as  they 
were  in  the  thirteenth  century. 

The  place  where  the  forest  justice  held  his  inquisitions  was 
usually  termed  the  Justice  Seat.  This  Justice  Seat  was  occa- 
sionally held  in  different  localities,  or  even  in  a  temporary 
booth  or  tent,  as  in  the  great  Northamptonshire  forest  of 
Rockingham  ;  but  the  Justice  Seat  for  the  Peak  Forest  was 
about  the  centre  of  the  district,  in  an  extra  parochial  part,  about 
equal  distance  from  Castleton,  Tideswell,  and  Bowden.  Here 
stood  a  chief  forestry  residence  and  hall  termed  Camera  in 
foresta  regia  Pecci,  or  Camera  in  Campana,  with  a  chapel 
attached.  This  chapel  was  of  earlier  date  than  the  large  chapel 


built  by  the  foresters  and  keepers  at  Bowden  about  1225, 
which  place  was  henceforth  usually  known  as  Chapel-en-le- 
Frith.  The  Chamber  of  the  Peak  was  not  so  important  a 
place  as  the  central  lodge  of  many  other  forests,  because  the 
keeper  of  the  Peak  Forest  being  usually  associated  with  the 
custody  of  the  castle,  the  residence  of  the  chief  local  official 
was  at  Castleton.  The  prison  was  at  the  castle  of  the  Peak, 
and  the  baily  of  the  castle  was  sometimes  made  to  serve  as  a 
great  pound  for  illegally  pastured  sheep ;  but  there  is  no 
instance  of  the  Justice  Seat  or  even  a  swainmote  being  held 
at  Castleton. 

There  are,  unfortunately,  too  few  records  left  of  the  smaller 
forest  courts  of  the  Peak  to  speak  with  confidence  as  to  the 
regular  holding  of  the  frequent  attachment  courts  or  swain- 
motes  in  all  the  bailiwicks  for  any  long  period  ;  but  there  are 
sufficient  incidental  references  to  show  that  such  swainmotes 
were  held  in  the  thirteenth  and  early  fourteenth  centuries  for 
Campana  at  the  Chamber  of  the  Forest,  for  Longdendale  at 
Chapel-en-le-Frith,  and  for  Hopedale  at  Hope.  Subsequently 
the  greater  swainmote  courts  were  held  at  Tideswell  and  at 
Chapel-en-le-Frith,  though  sometimes  at  Campana  Lodge  or 
Chamber  of  the  Forest  instead  of  at  Tideswell. 

In  several  of  the  larger  forests,  and  notably  in  Peak  Forest, 
there  were  hereditary  foresters-of-fee.  In  this  case,  when  the 
question  of  their  origin  came  up  at  forest  pleas,  they  always 
claimed  to  date  back  to  the  times  of  William  Peverel.  There 
were  a  certain  number — originally  four,  though  afterwards 
subdivided — for  each  of  the  three  great  bailiwicks  of  the  Peak 
Forest  who  held  certain  bovates  of  land  in  serjeanty,  dis- 
charging their  obligations  in  one  case  by  the  hunting  of  wolves 
(see  chapter  iv.),  and  in  the  others  by  some  amount  of  forest 
supervision.  In  two  of  the  three  bailiwicks  they  had  sworn 
grooms  or  servants  under  them.  This  kind  of  forestership 
could  be  held  by  women  and  by  clerks,  but  the  duties  had 
then  to  be  discharged  by  deputy.  The  foresters-of-fee  were 
bound  to  attend  all  courts,  even  the  frequent  swainmotes  of 
their  bailiwick,  in  person  or  by  authorised  sworn  deputy. 

The  tenure  by  which  such  foresters  held  their  land  is  made 
clear  by  divers  inquisitions  after  death.  Adam  Gomfrey, 
32  Edward  I.,  died  seized  of  a  messuage  and  fifteen  acres  at 

THE   FOREST   OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     153 

Wormhill  held  per  servicium  custodiendi  pecci  forestam. 
Walter  de  Nevil,  34  Edward  I.,  died  seized  of  thirty  acres 
at  Wormhill  held  per  servicium  custodiendi  forestam.  Nicholas 
Foljambe,  at  his  death,  13  Edward  II.,  held  a  messuage  and 
thirty  acres  by  the  serjeanty  of  keeping  the  king's  forest  of 
Campana,  in  the  Peak,  per  corpus  suum  cum  arcu  et  sagittis. 
Thomas  Foljambe,  17  Edward  II.,  held  fifteen  acres  at  Worm- 
hill,  by  the  service  of  finding  a  footman  with  bow  and  arrows 
to  keep  the  Peak  Forest.  Maria  Hansted,  n  Edward  III., 
held  land  at  Blackbrook,  Fairfield,  Hope,  etc. ,  per  custodiendi 
•wardam  de  Hopedale  in  foresta  de  Pecco. 

On  the  numerous  early  incised  slabs  that  are  found  in 
Derbyshire  churches  in  the  neighbourhood  or  within  the 
bounds  of  Peak  Forest,  dating  from  the  time  of  Henry  II.  to 
Henry  III.,  there  are  not  a  few  symbols  that  betoken  slabs 
which  are  obviously  memorials  of  forest  ministers.  The  horn 
of  a  forester  appears  at  the  base  of  an  incised  cross  at  Darley 
Dale,  which  has  a  sword  on  the  sinister  side.  At  Wirksworth 
is  an  earlier  one,  with  a  belted  bugle  horn  on  one  side  of  the 
cross,  and  a  sword  on  the  other.  At  Hope  there  is  a  third 
early  slab  with  a  sword  on  one  side  and  a  belted  bugle  horn, 
with  an  arrow  below  it,  on  the  other.  In  each  of  these  cases 
the  burial  of  a  forester-of-fee  is  denoted,  the  sword  (which  had 
no  forest  signification)  probably  denoting  knightly  rank.  At 
the  unhappy  and  wholly  unnecessary  demolition  of  Hope 
chancel  another  cross  slab,  with  only  a  stringed  bugle-horn  on 
the  dexter  side,  was  also  brought  to  light. 

Among  the  large  collection  of  early  incised  slabs  at  Bake- 
well  is  one  on  which  a  bow  is  denoted  by  a  curved  line  on  the 
sinister  side  of  the  cross-stem,  the  stem  serving  as  the  bow- 
string ;  a  small  arrow  projects  from  the  string. 

A  square-headed  axe  laid  athwart  the  cross-stem  appears 
on  slabs  at  Chelmorton  and  Killamarsh,  probably  denoting  a 
verderer,  or  head  woodward,  or  "  axe-bearer."  The  ordinary 
woodward,  and  in  some  forests  the  verderer,  only  bore  a  small 
lopping  axe  or  billhook,  and  not  a  felling  axe.  Such  billhooks 
appear  on  early  incised  slabs  at  Sutton-in-the-Dale  and  North 

Examples  of  the  Derbyshire  incised  slabs  to  forest  ministers 
have  been  illustrated  in  chapter  iii. 


There  is  a  peculiarly  interesting  brass  in  Dronfield  Church 
to  Thomas  Gomfrey,  rector,  who  died  in  1389,  and  his  brother, 
Richard  Gomfrey,  rector  of  Tatershall.  On  the  brass  is  a 
forester's  horn.  Thomas  was  hereditary  forester-of-fee  ;  he 
was  the  great  grandson  of  Adam  Gomfrey,  forester  of  Campana 
at  the  eyre  of  1286. 

The  abundance  of  deer  in  this  forest  in  Norman  days  seems 
to  have  been  something  astonishing.  Giraldus  Cambrensis 
tells  us  that  in  his  days  (iiostris  dtedus),  c.  1194,  the  number  of 
the  deer  was  so  great  in  the  Peak  district  that  they  trampled 
both  dogs  and  men  to  death  in  the  impetuosity  of  their 

In  the  extensive  grant  of  lands  and  church  at  Glossop  in 
Longdendale  by  Henry  II.  to  the  Flintshire  abbey  of  Basing- 
werk,  the  king  reserved  to  himself  the  venison,  but  allowed  the 
abbot's  tenants  to  take  hares,  foxes,  and  wolves. 

The  accounts  rendered  by  Robert  de  Ashbourn,  bailiff  of  the 
forest  and  castle  of  the  Peak,  for  the  year  1235-6,  are  of  much 
interest.  The  receipts  amounted  to  £201  2s.  io^d.,  whilst  the 
expenses  were  £184  12s.  yd.  In  this  year  the  king  visited 
Peak  Castle,  when  bailiff  Ashbourn,  as  lord  of  the  jurisdic- 
tion, presented  him  with  four  wild  boars  and  forty-two  geese, 
and  charged  16^.  3\d.  for  the  same  in  his  accounts.  The 
castle  that  year  underwent  considerable  repairs.  £10  is.  8d. 
from  the  pleas  of  the  hundred  or  wapentake  court  were  among 
the  receipts,  and  we  suppose  that  the  sums  of  £6  igs.  ^d.  and 
^"39  igs.  6d.  from  the  respective  itineraries  through  the 
demesnes  and  forests,  represent  the  fines,  etc.,  accruing  re- 
spectively from  the  manorial  and  the  swainmote  courts.  This 
is  the  earliest  known  detailed  document  of  the  Peak  juris- 

Forest  pleas  were  expected  to  be  held  at  least  every  seven 
years,  but  the  Peak  Forest  is  one  of  the  numerous  cases  in  which 
far  longer  intervals  occurred.  The  forest  justices  held  their 
eyre  for  the  Peak  in  1216.  This  was  followed  by  an  interval  of 
thirty-five  years,  for  the  next  pleas  were  not  held  until  1251. 
Of  these  pleas,  held  before  Geoffrey  Langley  and  other  jus- 
tices, very  full  records  are  extant. 

The  following  were  the  bailiffs  of  the  honor  of  the  Peak 
during  the  period  covered  by  this  eyre :  William  Ferrers, 

THE   FOREST   OF  THE   HIGH    PEAK     155 

Earl  of  Derby,  1216-22;  Brian  de  Insula,  1222-28;  Robert 
de  Lexington,  1228-33;  Ralph  Fitz-Nicholas,  1233-34;  Jonn 
Goband,  1234-37  ;  Thomas  de  Furnival,  1237  (f°r  slx 
months)  ;  Warner  Engaine,  1237-42  ;  John  de  Grey,  1242-48  ; 
and  William  de  Horsenden,  1249.  They  were  appointed  by 
Crown  patents. 

The  presentment  of  venison  trespasses  were  made  by  the 
hereditary  foresters  and  the  verderers.  This  roll  is  headed  by 
the  wholesale  charge  made  against  William  de  Ferrers,  Earl 
of  Derby  (who  had  died  in  1246),  in  conjunction  with  Ralph  de 
Beaufoy,  of  Trusley,  William  May,  the  earl's  huntsman, 
Richard  Curzon,  of  Chaddesden,  and  Henry  de  Elton,  of 
having  taken  in  the  king's  forest  of  the  Peak,  during  the  six 
years  when  the  earl  was  bailiff  (1216-22),  upwards  of  2,000  head 
of  game  (deer).  Ralph,  Robert,  and  Henry  appeared,  and  on 
conviction  were  imprisoned  ;  but  they  were  released  on  paying 
heavy  fines,  and  finding  twelve  mainpernors  for  their  good 
conduct.  Robert  Curzon  was  fined  £40  ;  the  first  of  his  twelve 
mainpernors  was  William  Curzon,  of  Croxall.  Ralph  Beaufoy 
was  fined  £10 ;  the  first  of  his  mainpernors  was  Sir  William 
de  Meysam.  May,  the  huntsman,  did  not  appear  ;  it  was  re- 
ported he  was  in  Norfolk,  and  the  justices  ordered  him  to  be 
attached.  If  the  full  actual  pleadings  were  extant,  there  can 
be  no  doubt,  judging  from  the  customs  of  other  forests,  that 
the  companions  of  the  earl  would  have  been  able  to  show  that 
a  considerable  percentage  of  the  deer  taken  when  he  held 
office  were  fee  deer,  to  which  he  was  entitled  by  usage  for 
himself  and  his  deputies,  and  that  many  others  were  the  usual 
and  recognised  gifts  to  the  country  gentlemen  of  the  district 
to  secure  their  goodwill  towards  the  king's  forest.  It  must 
be  remembered  that  it  was  always  customary  at  these  eyres  to 
present  lists  of  all  the  deer  killed,  including  those  taken  by 
express  warrant  or  custom,  Nevertheless,  there  was  obviously 
something  quite  unwarrantable  in  the  amount  taken  during  that 
period  (over  300  a  year),  as  is  shown  by  the  heavy  fines  imposed 
upon  the  hunting  comrades  of  the  deceased  earl. 

Many  of  the  other  offenders  were  men  of  considerable 
position.  Thus  Thomas  Gresley,  Alan  his  brother,  Ralph 
Hamilton,  the  Earl  of  Arundel,  and  Geoffrey  de  Nottingham 
were  convicted  of  taking  three  harts  and  two  hinds. 


Four  or  five  of  these  charges,  which  exceeded  one  hundred 
in  number,  related  to  clergy.  One  of  the  most  important  cases 
was  that  of  Roger  de  Weseham,  Bishop  of  Coventry  and 
Lichfield  (1245-57).  The  bishop  was  charged  together  with 
William  the  vicar  of  Glossop,  Archdeacon  Adam  de  Staniford, 
and  five  others,  all  apparently  of  his  company,  with  taking 
a  hind  in  the  forest.  The  bishop  was  summoned  with  the  rest 
to  appear  before  the  justices,  but  the  result  appears  to  have 
been  that  the  vicar  of  Glossop  was  the  only  one  punished  ;  he 
was  fined  ten  marks,  and  had  to  find  twelve  mainpernors.  One 
of  the  company  was  John  the  clerk,  and  he  was  an  unknown 
monk.  Had  the  pleadings  been  preserved  in  full,  it  would 
probably  have  been  shown  that  the  bishop  pleaded  the  forest 
charter,  whereby  it  was  allowed  to  any  bishop,  baron,  or  earl 
to  take  one  or  two  head  of  game  in  passing  through  a  royal 
forest,  provided  it  was  done  openly.  The  like  justification 
might  possibly  have  been  put  forward  by  several  barons  whose 
names  appear  as  venison  trespassers. 

Those  who  were  considered  responsible  for  the  escape  of 
prisoners  on  venison  charges  from  Peak  Castle  were  held 
liable  at  these  forest  pleas.  When  John  de  Grey  was  bailiff  of 
the  Peak,  Martin  the  shoemaker  of  Castleton,  and  another, 
were  charged  with  the  unwarrantable  possession  of  a  deerskin, 
and  were  committed  to  prison.  They  escaped,  or  were  liberated 
without  the  intervention  of  a  forest  justice,  therefore  the  bailiff 
was  held  in  mercy  ;  the  offenders  did  not  appear,  and  were 
outlawed.  John  Goband,  an  earlier  bailiff,  was  also  held  in 
mercy  for  a  like  offence.  Simon  de  Weyley,  who  took  a  stag 
during  the  bailiffship  of  Robert  de  Lexington  (1228-33), 
gave  the  bailiff  five  marks  to  secure  his  release.  Lexington 
was  dead  ;  but,  on  the  offence  being  proved,  the  justices  held 
that  his  heirs  were  held  responsible. 

Baron  William  de  Vesci,  with  four  others,  was  charged  with 
taking  three  harts  in  the  forest.  One  of  the  company,  John  de 
Andville,  was  on  pilgrimage  in  the  Holy  Land  at  the  time  of 
the  eyre,  and  could  not  appear.  The  baron  had  protested  to 
the  verderers  at  the  time  of  the  charge  that  he  took- the  game 
by  the  king's  gift ;  he  brought  to  the  eyre  the  royal  letter  and 
the  charge  was  withdrawn.  In  two  other  cases  royal  pardons 
were  produced  to  the  justices. 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH    PEAK     157 

The  fines  imposed  for  venison  trespasses  varied  at  this  eyre 
from  ^zooto  13^.  4^.,  and  seemed  to  have  been  proportioned  in 
accordance  with  the  position  of  the  offender,  as  well  as  the 
comparative  gravity  of  the  offence.  The  long  intervals  be- 
tween the  eyres,  and  the  frequent  changes  of  the  forest 
custodian,  together  with  the  wildriess  of  the  country,  seemed 
to  have  led  to  the  Peak  Forest  being  hunted,  with  a  certain 
amount  of  impunity,  by  not  a  few  of  the  nobility  and  gentry 
of  Derbyshire,  and  of  the  adjacent  parts  of  Yorkshire  and 
Cheshire.  The  game  trespasses  at  this  eyre  were  entirely  for 
red  deer,  save  for  the  single  instance  of  a  presentment  against 
Robert  de  Wurth  for  killing  a  roebuck,  for  which  offence  the 
huge  fine  of  ,£100  was  imposed.  The  amount  of  this  fine  had 
nothing  to  do  with  the  nature  of  the  game,  but  was  caused  by 
the  non-appearance  of  the  accused,  accompanied  probably  by 
some  aggravating  circumstances  not  recorded  on  the  brief 
entry  on  the  plea  rolls.  At  the  next  pleas  (1286)  the  justices 
imposed  a  like  enormous  fine  of  £100  in  the  case  of  John  Clarel, 
who  did  not  appear,  on  the  charge  of  taking  a  hart,  adding  to 
the  record  words  which  do  not  elsewhere  appear — si  placeat 
domino  rege — as  though  to  mark  its  exceptional  nature. 

When  the  justices  at  the  1251  pleas  came  to  the  considera- 
tion of  vert  offences  and  encroachments  various  particulars 
were  missing.  Mathew  de  Langesdon  and  Adam  de  Stanton, 
hereditary  verderers,  were  each  fined  20^.  for  not  producing 
their  father's  rolls.  There  seems  to  have  been  much  careless- 
ness among  the  various  officials  in  the  keeping  of  their  respec- 
tive yearly  lists  of  offences.  Peter  del  Hurst,  regarder  of  one 
section  of  the  Peak  Forest,  was  fined  los.  for  the  non-present- 
ment of  assarts  and  purprestures  in  his  rolls.  A  considerable 
number  of  agisters  were  at  the  same  time  declared  in  mercy 
for  not  producing  their  agistment  rolls  according  to  the  custom 
and  assize  of  the  forest.  There  is,  however,  a  fairly  long  list 
tof  vert  offences  (about  sixty)  that  had  accrued  within  the  Crown 
demesnes  since  1218,  the  damage  done  being  in  most  cases 
valued  at  6d.  Richard  de  Smallcross,  who  had  been  fined  6d. 
at  the  swainmote  for  the  value  of  a  vert  offence  in  the  demesne 
park,  had  now  to  pay  a  fine  of  6s.  8d.  and  to  obtain  pledges. 
Richard  de  Redescaye,  who  had  paid  a  value  fine  of  i2d.,  was 
also  fined  6s.  8d.  by  the  justices.  The  majority  of  the  offenders 


—the  offences  were  probably  trifling  —  had  simply  to  find 
pledges  for  their  future  observance  of  the  forest  assize.  Heirs 
were  held  responsible  for  their  father's  offences  in  two  or  three 
cases.  Many  of  these  vert  trespassers  were  of  good  position. 
The  worst  case  at  this  eyre  was  that  of  Roger  Foljambe,  who 
was  fined  the  large  sum  of  twenty  marks  for  many  transgres- 
sions ;  his  pledges  were  John  Foljambe  and  Warner  Coterell. 
In  this  roll  of  transgressors  the  clergy,  especially  the  religious, 
were  largely  represented.  The  number  included  the  abbots  of 
Basingwerk,  Dieulacres,  Lilleshall,  Merivale,  Roche,  and 
Welbeck,  the  prior  of  Lenton,  and  William,  vicar  of  Glossop. 
The  vicar's  case  must  have  been  a  serious  one,  for  the  value 
payment  was  ^3  and  the  fine  40^.  Another  and  much  shorter 
roll  gave  the  vert  offenders  within  the  forest  limits  but  outside 
the  demesne. 

In  the  first  roll  of  assarts  presented  at  this  Peak  eyre,  on 
which  twenty-two  cases  are  entered,  two  of  these  assarts  that 
had  been  made  without  warrant  many  years  before  were  taken 
into  the  king's  hands  ;  and  in  one  case,  where  William  the 
smith  (deceased)  had  made  an  assart  of  three  acres  without 
warrant  in  the  liberty  of  the  abbot  of  Basingwerk  in  the  days 
of  Robert  de  Lexington  (1228-33),  the  then  abbot  was  allowed 
to  retain  it  as  tenant.  It  was  a  dire  offence,  whether  the  assart 
was  within  the  forest  or  only  in  the  regard  or  purlieus,  to 
enclose  with  so  stout  or  high  a  fence  that  the  deer  were  ex- 
cluded. The  abbot  of  Basingwerk,  in  the  time  of  John  de 
Grey,  was  reported  as  having  assarted  one  and  a  half  acres  at 
Whitfield  without  the  demesne,  and  enclosed  it  so  as  to  prevent 
the  free  roving  of  the  deer  and  their  fawns,  and  this  without 
warrant ;  at  the  time  when  the  justices  were  sitting  the  fence 
had  been  removed,  but  it  was  declared  in  the  hands  of  the 
king.  The  usual  custom  in  the  Peak  at  this  time  seems  to 
have  been  for  the  tenant  of  an  assart  to  pay  4^.  an  acre  to  the 
Crown,  and  at  the  time  of  the  assart  being  made  to  pay  a  fine 
to  the  bailiff  for  the  warrant.  In  a  list  of  assarts  allowed  by 
Warner  Engaine  at  4^.  an  acre,  the  following  are  the  propor- 
tions and  the  fines  in  six  consecutive  cases  :  i  acre,  2$.  fine  ; 
4  acres,  6s.  fine  ;  i  acre,  2S.  8d.  fine  ;  3  acres,  6s.  fine  ;  2  acres, 
4.9.  fine  ;  and  3  acres,  3^.  fine.  When  the  tenants  of  Peak 
Forest  assarts  died,  their  heirs  paid  double  rent  for  the  first 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     159 

year,  and  the  king  had  also  the  second  best  beast,  the  first 
going  to  the  Church.  These  Peak  assarts,  which  were  very 
numerous  at  this  date,  were  for  the  most  part  small,  averaging 
about  5  or  6  acres  ;  they  varied  from  60  acres  to  ^  acre. 

The  purprestures  presented  at  this  eyre  were  the  rolls  of  new 
houses  built  since  the  last  pleas  of  1216.  One  hundred  and 
thirty-one  persons  had  built  new  houses  without  warrant,  and 
were  therefore  in  mercy — that  is,  liable  to  fines.  In  almost  a 
like  number  of  cases,  namely,  one  hundred  and  twenty-seven, 
new  houses  had  been  raised  within  the  king's  demesnes  with 
the  licence  of  the  bailiff.  An  average  increase  of  eight  new 
houses  a  year  during  the  first  thirty-five  years  of  Henry  III.'s 
reign  speaks  well  as  to  the  degree  of  prosperity  then  enjoyed 
by  the  forest  of  the  Peak. 

The  mineral  and  turbary  rights  of  this  forest  also  came 
under  review  at  this  eyre.  Earl  Ferrers  received  .£15  during 
the  six  years  that  he  held  the  Peak  bailiwick  from  the  minerals 
raised  at  Tideswell  :  Brian  de  Insula,  £12,  during  his  five 
years  ;  Robert  de  Lexington,  ,£40  in  six  years  ;  Ralph  Fitz- 
Nicholas,  £5  in  one  year  ;  John  Goband,  £7  in  three  years  ; 
Warner  Engaine,  £12  los.  in  five  years  ;  John  de  Grey,  £15  in 
six  years  ;  and  William  de  Horsenden,  50^.  per  annum.  The 
minerals  raised  at  Wardlow  produced  £12  for  Earl  Ferrers, 
£10  for  Brian  de  Insula,  £12  for  Robert  de  Lexington,  £2  for 
Ralph  Fitz-Nicholas,  £4  for  John  Goband,  £8  los.  for  Warner 
Engaine,  .£8  for  John  de  Grey,  and  30^.  a  year  for  William  de 
Horsenden.  John  de  Grey  took  twenty  marks  of  cheminage 
or  road  toll  to  the  mines  during  his  term  of  office  ;  but  this  was 
not  done  by  any  other  bailiff.  John  de  Grey  also  made  certain 
stone  quarries,  from  which  he  received  \6d.  profit  in  two  years. 

Under  turbary  it  is  mentioned  that  the  townships  of  Hucklow, 
Tideswell,  Wormhill,  Toftes,  Buxton,  Bowden,  Aston,  and 
Thornhill  took  turves  without  requiring  licence. 

Another  source  of  profit  to  the  bailiffs  was  on  escaped  cattle  : 
under  this  head  Earl  Ferrers  took  £12,  Brian  de  Insula  ;£io, 
Robert  de  Lexington  £12,  Kalph  Fitz-Nicholas  £2,  John 
Goband  £6,  Warner  Engaine  £10,  John  de  Grey  £12,  and 
William  de  Horsenden  £i  yearly. 

One  other  fact  recorded  on  the  rolls  of  this  eyre  remains  for 
notice  :  it  is  with  regard  to  the  horse-breeding  establishments 


of  the  forest.  The  term  used  for  this  in  the  Peak,  Needwood, 
and  other  forests  is  Equitium,  for  which  it  does  not  seem 
possible  to  find  any  single-word  English  equivalent,  unless  it 
is  stud.  The  abbot  of  Welbeck  had  one  stud  of  twenty  horses 
and  twenty  mares  in  the  forest  at  Cruchell,  where  King  John 
had  given  the  canons  charter  rights.  The  abbot  of  Merivale 
had  kept  a  stud  of  sixteen  mares  with  their  foals  for  six  years, 
to  the  damage  to  the  king  of  2os.  The  abbot  of  Basingwerk 
had  a  stud  of  twenty  mares  for  two  years,  damage  2os.  William 
de  Roch  had  seven  mares  and  foals  for  one  year,  20^.  Thomas 
Foljambe,  senior,  had  seven  mares,  damage  13^.4^;  Thomas 
had  died  and  the  heirs  had  to  respond. 

Bailiff  Bernake's  accounts  of  the  year  1255-6,  already  cited 
in  reference  to  wolves,  are  also  interesting  on  account  of  the 
gifts  that  he  made  to  the  Campana  Lodge  or  Chamber  of  the 
Forest.  To  the  chapel  he  gave  a  sufficient  vestment,  an  albe, 
an  amyce,  a  sufficient  rochet,  a  super-altar,  an  altar  cloth  made 
out  of  an  old  chasuble,  a  silver  chalice  gilded  inside,  and  an 
old  missal  and  a  gradual.  To  the  hall  he  gave  five  tables,  six 
old  small  shields,  and  a  chessboard  ;  also  two  tuns  of  wine, 
one  full  and  the  other  having  a  depth  of  twelve  inches.  He 
also  presented  various  utensils  to  the  kitchen. 

On  1 2th  July,  1285,  the  sheriff  of  Derbyshire  was  ordered  to 
cause  a  regard  to  be  taken  of  the  Peak  Forest  before  Michael- 
mas, preparatory  to  the  holding  of  the  forest  pleas  ;  and  on  ist 
August  he  was  further  instructed  to  issue  summons  of  an  eyre 
for  forest  pleas,  to  be  held  at  Derby  to  all  concerned,  save 
Brother  William  de  Henley,  prior  to  the  Hospitallers  and 
Edmund  the  king's  brother,  who  were  excused  attendance. 

Thirty-four  years  had  passed  by  since  the  last  eyre  was  held. 
The  pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  at  Derby  on  3Oth  September, 
1285,  before  Roger  Lestrange,  Peter  de  Leach,  and  John  Fitz- 
Nigel,  justices  of  the  forest.  The  full  rolls  of  this  eyre  are  also 
extant  at  the  Public  Record  Office. 

From  the  rolls  then  produced  we  are  able  to  continue  the  list 
of  bailiffs  from  the  time  of  the  last  eyre.  William  de  Horsen- 
den,  1251  ;  Ralph  Bugg,  1252  ;  Ivo  de  Elynton,  1253  ;  Richard 
de  Vernon,  1254;  Gervase  de  Bernake,  1255;  Thomas  de 
Orreby,  1256  ;  Richard  le  Ragged,  1257  ;  William  de  Findern, 
1258;  Thomas  de  Furnival,  1264;  Roger  Lestrange,  1274; 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     161 

Thomas  Foljambe,  1277;  Thomas  de  Normanville,  1277; 
Thomas  de  Furnival,  1279  ;  Thomas  le  Ragged,  1280  ;  Thomas 
Foljambe,  1281  ;  and  Robert  Bozon,  1283. 

The  Campana  foresters-of-fee  of  that  date  were  John  Daniel, 
Thomas  le  Archer,  Thomas  son  of  Thomas  Foljambe,  a  minor 
in  the  custody  of  Thomas  de  Gretton  ;  Nicholas  Foljambe,  who 
had  been  a  minor  in  the  custody  of  Henry  de  Medue,  but  was 
then  of  full  age  ;  and  Adam  Gomfrey.  Of  these  foresters, 
Adam  Gomfrey  and  Thomas  Foljambe  held  jointly  the  same 
bovate,  which  had  formerly  been  divided  between  two  brothers. 
Also  Thomas  Foljambe  and  John  le  Wolfhunte  held  another 
bovate  in  the  same  way,  John  holding  his  half  by  hereditary 
descent,  whilst  Thomas  Foljambe,  senior,  had  acquired  his 
half  by  marriage  with  Katherine,  daughter  of  Hugh  de 
Mirhaud.  This  subdivision  of  serjeanties  became  burden- 
some to  the  district,  as  each  forester-of-fee  endeavoured  to  have 
a  servant  maintained  at  the  expense  of  the  tenants,  but  the 
jurors  confirmed  a  decision  of  the  hundred  court  of  1275  to 
the  effect  that  there  could  be  only  four  such  servants  or  officers, 
according  to  ancient  custom,  for  the  Campana  bailiwick.  The 
names  of  the  foresters-of-fee  for  the  two  other  wards  are  also 
set  forth. 

Although  a  considerable  proportion  of  the  offenders  were 
dead  before  the  eyre  was  held,  the  rolls  of  venison  and  vert 
trespassers  show  no  fewer  than  517  separate  charges  extending 
over  the  thirty-four  years  since  the  last  pleas. 

The  gravest  charge  at  this  eyre,  as  at  the  last,  was  against 
an  Earl  of  Derby.  Robert  Earl  Ferrers  was  presented  for 
having,  in  1264,  with  a  great  company  of  knights  and  other 
persons  of  position,  hunted  in  the  Campana  forest  on  7th  July 
and  taken  forty  head  of  deer,  and  drove  another  forty  out  of 
the  forest ;  and  on  ist  August  took  fifty  and  drove  away  about 
seventy  ;  and  again  on  29th  September  took  forty  and  drove 
away  a  like  number.  This  hunting  was  planned  on  a  whole- 
sale scale,  for  thirty-eight  are  named  in  the  presentment,  and 
there  were  many  others,  as  well  as  the  earl  himself,  who  were 
dead  before  the  eyre  was  held,  and  others  not  summoned  as 
they  were  mere  servants  of  the  earl.  Eight  out  of  the  thirty- 
eight  were  knights,  and  one,  Master  Nicholas  de  Marnham, 
rector  of  Doddington,  Lincoln,  was  in  holy  orders.  Of  those 

162     THE   ROYAL  FORESTS  OF  ENGLAND      , 

in  the  earl's  train  during  these  three  forest  affrays  hardly  any 
bore  Derbyshire  names,  but  came  from  the  counties  of  War- 
wick, Leicestershire,  Lancashire,  York,  Cambridge,  etc.  It  has 
been  strangely  enough  remarked  by  the  only  writer  who  has 
hitherto  cited  these  presentments  (Mr.  Yeatman)  that  "these 
tremendous  charges,"  made  long  after  the  earl  was  dead,  "are 
utterly  incomprehensible,"  adding  that  it  seems  impossible  to 
suppose  that  the  earl  had  not  full  licence  from  the  Crown  to 
indulge  in  hunting  in  the  royal  forest !  But  this  writer  had 
clearly  forgotten  the  date  of  these  forest  invasions  of  the  young 
and  impetuous  Earl  Ferrers.  It  was  in  1264,  in  the  very  thick 
of  the  baronial  civil  war  under  Simon  de  Montfort,  of  whose 
cause  Robert  Ferrers  was  a  hot  partisan.  On  I2th  May  was 
fought  the  battle  of  Lewes,  when  the  king's  forces  under 
Prince  Edward  (Edward  I.)  were  defeated  by  those  of  the 
barons.  For  two  or  three  years  from  that  date,  as  an  old 
chronicler  has  it,  "there  was  grievous  perturbation  in  the 
centre  of  the  realm,"  in  which  Derbyshire  pre-eminently 
shared.  There  can  be  no  doubt  whatever  that  the  three  incur- 
sions made  into  the  Peak  Forest  in  July,  August,  and  Septem- 
ber, following  the  battle  of  Lewes,  were  undertaken  by  Robert 
Ferrers  and  his  allies  (issuing  forth  from  his  great  manor- 
house  of  Hartington)  much  more  to  show  contempt  for  the 
king's  forest  and  preserves  and  to  get  booty  than  for  any  pur- 
poses of  sport.  These  presentments,  if  they  did  nothing  else, 
were  a  strong  protest  against  the  lawlessness  of  such  action. 
In  April  of  this  year  Henry  III.  had  come  into  Derbyshire 
and  lodged  for  a  time  at  the  castle  of  the  Peak  after  the  sub- 
jection of  Nottingham,  and  it  was  from  here  that  he  proceeded 
into  Kent  and  Sussex. 

The  king's  sojourn  here  before  the  battle  of  Lewes  is  ex- 
pressly named  in  another  presentment  against  Thomas  de 
Furnival,  the  great  Lord  of  Sheffield.  Thomas,  who  was  that 
year  bailiff  of  the  Peak,  entertained  the  king  at  the  castle  and 
tarried  there  until  Whitsuntide.  On  this  occasion,  after  the 
king  had  left,  the  bailiff  entered  the  forest  and  killed  twelve 
beasts.  On  various  subsequent  occasions,  both  in  the  reign 
of  Henry  III.  and  Edward  I.,  venison  was  killed  in  this  forest 
and  taken  to  Thomas  de  Furnival's  castle  at  Sheffield.  Thomas 
appeared  before  the  justices,  and  was  convicted  and  im- 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     163 

prisoned,  but  was  subsequently  released  at  the  king's  pleasure 
for  a  fine  of  200  marks. 

Edward  I.  made  his  chace  (facit  chaceam  suam)  in  the  forest 
in  1275.  At  that  time  Thomas  Fitz-Nicholas  and  Richard 
Fitz-Godfrey  of  Monyash  went  into  the  forest  with  the  king's 
hounds  and  carried  off  some  of  the  venison  to  their  own 
houses.  Whereupon  William  le  Wynn,  Lord  of  Monyash, 
whose  tenants  they  were,  summoned  them  to  his  manorial 
court,  where  Thomas  was  fined  4^.  and  Richard  6s.  8d.  For 
this  illegal  adjudication  in  case  of  venison  trespass  William  le 
Wynn  was  presented  by  the  foresters,  and  the  justices  fined 
him  20-r.,  and  required  him  to  find  pledges  of  future  observance 
of  the  assize  of  the  forest. 

At  a  swainmote  held  at  Chapel-en-le-Frith  in  March,  1280, 
William  Foljambe  appeared  before  Thomas  le  Ragged,  the 
bailiff,  and  presented  that  Henry  de  Medue  took  a  doe  with  a 
certain  black  greyhound  called  "  Collyng"  at  Camhead,  under- 
taking to  verify  the  charge  in  a  penalty  of  100  marks  ;  Henry 
denied  the  charge,  and  retorted  that  William  Foljambe  and 
his  brother-in-law,  Gregory,  with  the  aid  of  his  servants  and 
shepherds  at  Martinside,  Weston,  and  Wormhill,  had  de- 
stroyed a  hundred  head  of  game,  and  undertook  to  prove  it 
under  a  like  penalty.  The  jury  at  the  forest  pleas  found 
Henry  guilty,  and  he  was  fined  £5.  William  and  his  com- 
pany were  found  not  guilty  of  taking  a  hundred,  but  guilty 
of  taking  twenty ;  he  was  fined  20  marks.  Collyng  was  evi- 
dently a  well-known  greyhound  ;  the  name  occurs  in  another 
presentment  of  a  different  date  against  Thomas  Medue. 

In  the  Peak  Forest,  as  elsewhere,  foresters-of-fee,  as  well 
as  their  servants  or  under-foresters,  were  now  and  again  con- 
victed of  venison  trespass.  Thus  Robert  de  Milner,  at  the 
time  when  he  was  a  forester  of  Longdendale,  took  over  twenty 
head  of  game  and  carried  them  to  his  father's  house  ;  not 
.  appearing  at  the  eyre,  he  was  outlawed.  John  Pycard,  a 
forester  under  Milner,  was  also  convicted  of  killing  six  deer. 
Ten  other  foresters-of-fee  were  fined  during  this  eyre. 

A  succession  of  bailiffs,  in  addition  to  Thomas  de  Furnival, 
were  convicted  of  venison  or  cognate  offences,  or  the  improper 
release  of  offenders. 

The  offences,    both  of   vert   and  venison    trespass   and   of 


agistment,  proved  against  the  large  majority  of  the  heredi- 
tary foresters-of-fee,  and  against  so  many  of  the  highest 
position  in  the  district  and  county,  shows  that  there  was  very 
little  moral  stigma  attached  at  that  time  to  forest  transgres- 
sions in  the  Peak.  In  no  other  forest  district  does  there  seem 
to  have  been  quite  so  much  laxity.  This  exceptionally  bad 
feature  of  the  Peak  Forest  probably  arose  from  the  long-con- 
tinued state  turmoil  of  so  much  of  the  period  between  the  two 
eyres  of  1250  and  1286  throughout  this  district,  which  brought 
about  great  laxity  of  administration.  After  these  foresters 
had  been  duly  convicted  and  fined  for  many  transgressions, 
their  respective  bailiwicks,  because  of  their  poverty,  were  not 
forfeited,  but  taken  into  the  king's  hands  to  be  replevied  at 
his  will  when  the  required  fine  had  been  paid.  The  justices 
were  authorised  to  reinstate  them  in  their  offices  during  the 
king's  pleasure,  whilst  the  fines  were  being  paid,  if  they  saw 
just  cause,  and  in  several  cases  the  penalties  were  reduced. 

As  examples  of  instances  of  convictions  of  men  of  consider- 
able position,  the  following  may  be  mentioned :  Peter  de 
Gresley,  who  had  to  pay  £20  for  the  single  offence  of  killing 
a  doe  in  1268;  John  lord  of  Queenbury,  Yorks,  £20;  and 
John  lord  of  Shipley,  40^.  Other  offenders  were  Sir  Stephen 
le  Waleys,  William  Bagshawe,  and  Thomas,  Henry,  and 
William  Foljambe. 

There  were,  of  course,  various  venison  offences  committed 
by  men  in  humbler  positions,  but  these  seem  to  have  been 
quite  the  exception.  Michael,  son  of  Adam  de  Wormhill,  was 
presented  for  having  killed  fawns  (of  red  deer)  in  the  forest, 
and  sold  their  skins  in  the  open  market.  The  justices  at  this 
eyre  were  merciful,  and  had  regard  to  poverty  in  other  besides 
the  foresters-of-fee.  Thus  Richard  de  Baslow  and  Hebbe  the 
fisherman  were  in  the  company  of  Richard  de  Vernon,  when  he 
was  bailiff  at  the  taking  of  venison  for  the  king,  and  appropri- 
ated five  head  of  game  to  themselves.  Baslow  was  fined  20^., 
but  Hebbe,  who  admitted  the  offence,  was  afterwards  pardoned 
through  the  king's  mercy  because  he  was  poor. 

The  vert  charges  of  this  eyre,  particularly  those  that  deal 
with  the  wholesale  damage  of  the  king's  woods,  charged 
against  the  respective  townships,  are  of  special  interest,  as 
enabling  us  to  see  in  detail  that  the  woodlands  were  then  fairly 




THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     165 

numerous,  although  by  far  the  largest  portion  of  the  forest 
area  was  always  clear  of  every  kind  of  timber.  The  woods 
were  almost  entirely  of  oak. 

Full  lists  of  assarts  and  purprestures  that  had  occurred  since 
1261,  under  the  respective  bailiffs,  were  also  presented  at  the 
1286  pleas. 

As  to  horses,  it  was  presented  that  the  Queen  Consort  had  a 
stud  of  115  mares  and  their  foals  in  Campana,  to  the  great 
injury  of  the  forest,  but  that  many  had  horses  and  mares  in 
Campana  under  cover  of  their  belonging  to  the  queen.  Peter  de 
Shatton,  forester-of-fee,  had  eleven  horses  and  mares  feeding  in 
Campana,  whose  pasturage  was  rated  at  2s.  Nineteen  other 
foresters  had  horses  or  mares  in  various  proportions,  all  claim- 
ing to  be  part  of  the  queen's  stud.  They  were  all  ordered  to 
remove  their  animals,  and  had  to  pay  pasturage  value,  and  in 
addition,  fines  varying  from  is.  to  4^.,  save  in  the  cases 
of  Adam  Gomfrey,  John  Daniel,  and  Cecily  Foljambe,  who 
were  pardoned. 

The  ordinary  vert  rolls  for  such  trespasses  during  the  past 
thirty-five  years  extended  to  a  great  length,  embracing  over  600 
cases.  The  fines  were  chiefly  is.,  but  extended  to  2s.  6d.,  and 
in  one  case  to  4^.  Two  of  the  offenders,  Richard  le  Hunt  and 
Walter  Bigg,  both  of  Castleton,  were  excused  any  fine  on  the 
score  of  poverty. 

The  details  of  the  farm  stock  for  the  year  1314-15  are 
particularly  full,  especially  with  regard  to  the  sheep,  but  space 
prevents  them  being  given  here. 

There  are  various  references  to  the  milking  of  ewes  in  the 
Peak  accounts.  It  is  often  forgotten  how  almost  universal 
throughout  England — but  more  especially  in  Essex  and  the 
eastern  counties — was  the  custom  of  cheese-making  from 
sheep's  milk  from  the  time  of  Domesday  to  the  days  of 
Elizabeth.  It  lingered  to  a  far  later  date  in  some  districts. 
,  The  milk  of  ten  ewes  was  considered  equivalent  to  that  of 
one  cow. 

The  bailiff  of  the  Peak  was  allowed,  within  the  forest  limits, 
to  keep  a  limited  number  of  sheep  in  certain  defined  places, 
and  one  or  two  herds  of  cattle  kept,  as  a  rule,  within  enclosures, 
and  only  occasionally  pastured  in  the  open.  In  later  days,  as 
will  be  presently  seen,  when  the  pasturage  was  farmed  out, 


it  became  a  great  temptation  to  the  farmers  to  increase  their 
stocks,  to  the  serious  detriment  of  the  deer.  Temporary 
booths  or  sheds  were  erected  on  the  great  upland  pasture 
grounds  of  the  forest  for  the  occasional  use  of  the  herdsmen 
of  the  vallaries.  Particularly  was  this  the  case  above  Edale. 
This  is  the  explanation  of  the  term  "Booth"  not  infrequently 
found  on  the  Ordnance  Survey  maps.  Near  Edale  may 
be  noticed  Booth,  Barbery  Booth,  and  Upper  Booth  ;  above 
Hollinsclough  is  another  Booth  ;  and  elsewhere  occur  Grinds- 
brook  Booth,  Otterbrook  Booth,  and  Netherbrook  Booth.  On 
the  other  hand,  Oxhey  and  Cowhey,  on  Ronksley  Moor,  Cow- 
heys,  near  Ludworth,  and  Oxhay,  near  Eyam,  speak  of  definite 
enclosures  for  cattle. 

The  ministers'  accounts  of  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster,  from  the 
reign  of  Richard  II.  onwards,  supply  various  interesting  par- 
ticulars as  to  receipts  and  expenditure  in  administering  the 
affairs  of  the  forest  and  bailiwick  of  the  High  Peak.  The 
accounts  for  1391-2,  when  Thomas  de  Wednesley  was  receiver 
and  bailiff,  include,  in  addition  to  rents  from  towns  and  wastes, 
and  payments  for  a  summer  and  winter  herbage,  for  lead  ore, 
mills  and  fisheries,  £6  13$.  ^d.  for  passage  and  stallage  and 
toll  for  cows  at  Chapel-en-le-Frith,  25^.  for  pannage  of  pigs, 
and  37-s1.  6d.  for  agistment. 

A  court  (turnus)  was  held  at  Tideswell  on  ist  August,  1398, 
under  Sir  John  Cokayne  as  chief  steward,  when  the  jury  made 
presentments  as  to  lands  of  the  abbeys  of  Basingwerk  and 
Lilleshall  and  the  priory  of  Fenton.  John  de  Sale,  boothman 
(herdsman)  of  Edale,  was  presented  for  receiving  two  marks 
for  the  sale  of  wood.  Other  charges  were  the  enclosing  of  a 
piece  of  waste  at  Whitehall  bridge,  and  the  making  a  weir  at 
Rydale.  The  foresters  also  presented  several  cases  of  venison 

The  main  items  of  the  accounts  for  1404-5  closely  approxi- 
mate to  the  one  just  cited,  but  there  is  a  fresh  sub-heading, 
namely,  "  new  herbage,"  for  which  .£30  was  received.  This 
must  refer  to  some  extensive  new  clearing  or  assart ;  it  was  at 
Stokehill,  in  the  Hopedale  ward  of  the  forest,  and  is  described 
as  formerly  pertaining  to  Welbeck  abbey,  but  then  to  the 
nuns  of  Derby.  This  year  the  perquisites  or  fines  from  the 
various  courts  amounted  to  ^56  us.  2.d.  Two  small  but  in- 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     167 

teresting  items  appear  in  this  year's  accounts,  and  are  often 
subsequently  repeated.  One  is  called  Broksylver,  or  brook- 
silver,  which  was  a  payment  made  by  lead  miners  who  washed 
their  ore  in  the  torrent  (torrens]  of  Tideswell  within  the  fee  ; 
the  sum  for  this  year  was  2os.  The  other  is  Wodsylver,  or 
woodsilver,  which  was  a  payment  for  billets  of  wood  (perhaps 
used  for  smelting)  at  4^.  a  100 ;  this  year  they  numbered  500, 
and  the  payment  was  is.  8d. 

The  expenses  and  salaries  of  this  year  amounted  to  £319  5^. 
io^d.,  which  left  a  balance  of  £66  i2s.  ii%d.  A  heavy  item  in 
the  expenses  was  the  building  of  a  new  mill  at  Maynestonfield, 
£12  4-r.  id.  There  were  also  repairs  of  the  mills  at  Hayfield 
and  Castleton,  whilst  a  pair  of  millstones  for 'Beard  cost  los. 
A  small  item  of  some  interest  is  2.d.  for  a  key  to  the  door  of 
the  toll-booth  at  Chapel. 

The  accounts  for  1435-6  include  rents  for  lands  called 
"Wynlandes"  (spelt  "  Wynnelandes "  and  "Wenlandes" 
in  other  accounts).  From  this  and  subsequent  statements  it 
appears  that  the  payments  or  rents  for  these  Wynlands  came 
from  places  such  as  Monyash,  Chelmorton,  Overhaddon, 
Bakewell,  Ashover,  etc.,  which  were  on  the  verge  of  the  forest, 
and  sometimes  in  other  hundreds  (Wirksworth  and  Scarsdale) 
outside  the  limits  of  the  High  Peak.  The  word  naturally 
suggests,  to  forest  students,  the  Venlands  of  Dartmoor,  which 
were  the  parts  adjacent  to  the  moor  proper.  The  Venland 
parishes  paid  a  composition  to  the  Duchy  of  Cornwall  to 
cover  the  straying  of  their  cattle  and  stock  over  the  bounds 
into  Dartmoor  forests.  In  like  manner  these  Wynland  or 
Venland  districts  round  the  Peak  Forest  appear  to  have  at 
this  time  paid  some  due  or  assigned  some  rents  for  a  like 
reason  to  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster.  In  1439-40  Sir  Richard 
Vernon  (who  had  been  appointed  bailiff  of  the  High  Peak  and 
master  forester  in  1422)  enters  on  the  back  of  his  accounts 
proper  his  receipts  as  bailiff  of  the  lands  called  Wynnelandes, 
which  amounted  that  year  to  £88  is. 

At  a  later  date,  this  word  appears  as  "  Wydelands  "  and 
"  Widlands,"  and  once  as  "  Widelands,"  which  may  be  taken 
to  signify  the  lands  wide  of  the  forest  centre. 

In  1440-1,  three  hundred  shingles  were  provided  at  a  cost 
of  i6s.  6d.  and  shingle  nails  at  i8d.  for  re-roofing  the  Camera 


in  campana  or  Chamber  in  the  Forest.  In  the  following  year 
the  large  sum  of  £7  os.  nd.  was  spent  on  repairing  with 
specially  cut  piles  the  great  pond  (stagnum)  of  the  Campana. 
This  pond  still  remains. 

In  1448-9  Sir  Richard  Vernon  was  still  bailiff  and  master 
forester.  The  receipts  (including  balance)  for  that  year 
amounted  to  .£445  2s.  $\d. 

Walter  Blount  was  bailiff  in  1456-7.  The  lead  ore,  together 
with  the  market  tolls  at  Tideswell  paid  by  the  Sir  Sampson 
Meverell,  and  the  farm  of  the  fishery  of  the  Wye,  realised 
.£14  is.  In  1460-1  Walter  Blount  was  still  bailiff,  but  he 
was  at  that  date  knighted. 

Sir  William  Hastings,  Sir  John  Savage,  junr.,  and  Thurston 
Allen  were  the  next  successive  bailiffs. 

A  singular  appointment  was  made  by  Henry  VII.  in  March, 
1503,  to  the  joint  offices  of  bailiff,  receiver,  collector,  and  bar- 
master  of  the  High  Peak.  The  person  appointed  was  Thomas 
Savage,  Archbishop  of  York ;  of  course,  he  only  exercised 
these  not  very  lucrative  offices  by  deputy  ;  indeed,  the  patent 
gives  him  authority  to  discharge  his  duties  by  deputy  in  the 
same  way  as  had  been  done  by  his  predecessor,  Thurston 
Allen.  At  the  same  time  Sir  Richard  Savage  was  appointed 
constable  of  Peak,  master  forester  of  Peak  Forest,  and  steward 
of  both  castle  and  forest  at  a  salary  of  £18  i8s.  ^d.  a  year  to  be 
paid  him  by  his  kinsman,  the  archbishop,  as  receiver.  In 
the  following  year  Thomas  Babington  was  appointed  sub- 

Three  years  later  the  different  offices  were  again  reassorted 
and  to  some  extent  amalgamated,  for  Sir  Henry  Vernon,  in 
November,  1507,  was  appointed  steward,  bailiff,  and  master 
forester.  In  the  following  January,  James  Worsley  was  ap- 
pointed "  Boweberer  infra  forestam  de  Peke  "  during  pleasure. 

Among  the  Belvoir  MSS.  is  the  roll  of  a  swainmote  held  at 
Chapel-en-le-Frith,  in  October,  1497.  The  foresters  made 
various  presentments  of  venison  trespass.  In  six  cases  the 
offenders  were  charged  with  killing  a  "cornilu."1 

1  This  word,  though  the  assistance  of  some  of  our  ablest  philologists  has  been 
asked  and  courteously  given,  remains  uncertain  in  its  meaning.  The  probabilities 
on  the  whole  favour  the  idea  that  it  was  a  local  name  for  some  kind  of  horned 
deer.  Possibly  it  may  have  been  the  roebuck.  Compare  leucoryx,  the  name  for  a 
white  antelope. 

THE   FOREST   OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     169 

An  undated  complaint,  temp.  Henry  VII.,  addressed  to  the 
chancellor  of  the  duchy,  is  of  much  interest  as  showing  the 
power  of  the  deputy  steward  of  the  Peak  and  the  use  made 
of  the  castle  as  a  prison  : — 

"To  the  Right  Honorable  Sir  Reynold  Bray,  Knyght  Chauncelor 
of  the  Duchie  of  Lancastre. 

"  Mekly  compleanayth  unto  your  good  maistership  your  dayly 
orator  Richard  Hall  of  Hop  that  when  your  said  orator  came  unto 
your  debite  Steward  of  the  high  peke  John  Savage  to  shew  unto  hym 
howe  that  on  of  his  servauntes  called  Randall  Lee  and  oon  Thomas 
Slake  servaunt  to  Robert  Ayer  had  apeched  ather  other  of  fellony  as 
well  for  stellyng  of  horses  and  mayres  as  of  shep  to  the  entent  the 
said  mysdoers  myght  have  ben  ponyshed  accordyng  unto  the  kynges 
lawes  and  pore  men's  goodes  in  the  countre  to  go  in  pese  by  them  the 
said  John  Savage  not  wyllyng  to  her  the  trewyth  nor  to  do  justice 
comyth  your  said  besecher  for  his  seth  saying  to  the  Castell  of  Peke 
and  ther  remaned  by  the  space  of  iii  weks  and  more  and  wold  not 
suffer  his  wyfe  nor  other  or  his  frendes  to  bryng  hym  mete  nor  drynke 
but  caused  hym  to  by  it  of  the  Constabill  depute  to  his  grete  coste 
and  charge.  And  on  this  your  said  besecher  axed  Surtes  of  the  pece 
as  well  of  the  said  Randall  Lee  as  of  the  said  Thomas  Slake  afore 
the  said  John  Savage.  And  he  that  notwithstandyng  suffered  them 
to  departe  withoute  any  Surtes  fyndyng  to  the  grete  juberdy  of  the 
lyf  of  your  said  besecher  withoute  a  Remedy  may  be  had  in  that 
behalfe.  And  fordermore  your  said  orator  offered  the  said  John 
Savage  Surtes  to  answer  to  all  men  that  cold  lay  anything  to  his 
charge  which  he  refused  saying  it  was  your  comandement  that  he 
should  be  comytt  to  the  said  Castell  and  so  he  was  ther  withoute 
Remedy  but  that  it  pleasit  your  good  maistership  to  comaund  the 
said  John  Savage  by  your  wrytyng  to  suffer  hym  to  go  atte  large 
and  to  apere  afore  you  atte  the  octave  of  seint  Martyn  and  also 
to  bring  up  all  suche  persones  as  cold  lay  anythyng  against  your  said 
besecher.  And  on  this  Robert  Savage  and  Richard  Gresham  which 
is  Curte  Clarke  to  the  said  John  Savage  syttyng  in  an  Alehouse  atte 
Hope  and  uppon  non  curte  day  but  atte  ther  owen  will  amersed  your 
said  besecher  in  Cs.  And  for  what  cause  he  cane  not  tell.  Besechyng 
you  atte  the  reverence  of  God  and  in  way  of  Charite  the  premisses 
tenderly  concederyd  that  as  well  the  said  indytements  as  all  other 
thynges  that  any  man  cane  lay  to  his  charge  may  be  examined  nowe 
afore  you.  And  yf  he  be  founde  in  any  defaute  he  wyll  submytt  hym 
unto  your  correction  and  yf  he  be  note  That  then  those  that  hath 
done  evyll  to  hym  may  be  ponnyshed  and  make  hym  amends  for  the 


grete  harmys  and  wronge  exacion  that  they  have  done  to  hym 
agaynst  all  right  and  good  concyence  and  this  atte  the  reverence 
of  God  and  in  way  of  Charyte.  And  your  said  besecher  shall  ever 
pray  to  God  for  the  good  preservation  of  your  good  maistership  long 
to  endure."  1 

At  the  same  time,  Robert  Hollingworth,  of  Bowden,  com- 
plained to  the  chancellor  that  one  John  Bromall,  a  servant 
of  John  Savage's,  "a  myschiefes  man  and  outlawed  for  dyvers 
murdores  and  fellones,"  at  Savage's  instigation,  put  out  the 
complainant  from  his  house  and  lands  which  he  held  of  the 
king  by  chief  rent,  and  threatened  to  kill  him  if  he  tried  to 
claim  it.  Also  that  John  Shallcross,  bailiff  of  the  High  Peak, 
George  Bagshawe,  and  other  servants  of  Savage's,  pulled  down 
the  floors  of  his  house,  damaged  the  walls,  carried  off  divers 
"grete  arkes  and  coffers,"  tables,  household  furniture,  and 
other  "erlomes."  He  had  sought  to  obtain  redress  from  John 
Savage,  but  in  vain,  and  was  in  danger  of  his  life  if  he  ventured 
into  that  part  of  the  country. 

Sir  John  Savage's  answer  to  this  charge  is  filed.  It  is  to  the 
effect  that  Hollingworth  was  attainted  of  felony,  and  that 
Savage,  as  steward,  thereupon  seized  the  house  and  land  and 
transferred  the  tenancy  to  Bromall.2 

During  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.  two  great  courts  of  attach- 
ment for  the  whole  forest  were  held  yearly  at  Tideswell  in 
August  and  October,  as  well  as  various  smaller  courts,  of 
which  many  records  are  extant.  At  the  great  courts  all  the 
foresters-of-fee  of  the  three  wards  had  to  be  present  personally 
or  by  deputy.  At  a  great  court  of  attachment  held  in  October, 
1515,  twelve  offenders  were  fined  for  lopping  trees  in  the  woods 
of  Ashop  and  Edale.  One  of  these,  John  Marshall,  was  fined  the 
heavy  sum  of  6s.  &/. ;  and  another,  Edward  Barbour,  13^-.  4^. 
The  entries  are  very  brief,  and  the  aggravating  circumstances 
concerning  these  two  transgressions  are  not  named. 

Smaller  courts  for  the  Campana  ward  were  held  at  Tideswell 
on  30th  November,  1518,  and  on  2yth  March,  1519.  At  the 
former  there  were  no  presentations  ;  at  the  latter  four  vert 
transgressors  were  fined  for  lopping  in  the  aggregate  sum 
of  i^d. 

1  Duchy  Depositions,  I.  H.  10.  -  Ibid.,  ioa. 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     171 

The  names  of  the  foresters  attending  a  great  court  of  attach- 
ment for  the  whole  forest,  held  at  Tideswell  on  October,  1524, 
are  given  in  full. 

Another  great  court  of  attachment  was  held  at  Tideswell  on 
ist  August,  1525. 

The  large  number  of  seventy-four  vert  offenders  were  fined 
in  sums  varying  from  i2d.  to  zd.,  yielding  a  total  of  34^.  2d. 
Among  the  offenders  were  Thomas  Pursglove,  who  was  fined 
8d. ,  and  Edward  Barber,  vicar  of  Hope. 

In  the  midst  of  this  reign,  the  evil  results  of  letting  out 
or  leasing  the  herbage  of  the  district,  to  be  farmed  by  those 
who  were  not  forest  ministers,  became  apparent,  so  far  as  the 
interests  of  maintaining  a  deer  forest  were  concerned.  The 
king,  in  July,  1526,  issued  a  commission  to  Sir  Thomas 
Cokayne  and  three  others  to  inquire  into  the  overstocking  of 
"our  Forest  of  the  Champion  in  the  High  Peak"  more  than 
was  ever  wont  with  numbers  of  "  capilles,1  bestes,  and 
shepe "  by  Henry  Parker,  the  farmer  of  the  herbage,  and 
his  deputies,  insomuch  that  there  was  no  grass  left  in  the 
forest  "for  our  game  of  dere,"  and  that  thereby  many  of 
the  deer  are  like  to  perish  in  the  coming  winter  through  lack 
of  meat.  The  Commissioners  were  to  inquire  what  number 
of  cattle  and  sheep  the  forest  could  maintain,  and  whether 
Parker  had  more  than  previous  farmers  ;  also  as  to  the  number 
of  the  deer,  and  whether  they  had  decreased  under  Parker. 
The  Commissioners  met  at  the  Chamber  of  the  Forest,  on 
1 5th  September,  and  heard  the  following  witnesses;  Hugh 
Fretham,  30,  deposed  that  there  were  five  herds  of  cattle  within 
the  forest,  whereas  aforetime  there  were  but  two,  and  that  the 
five  herds  numbered  903  beasts  last  St.  Thomas's  Day;  that  at 
the  same  time  there  were  4,000  sheep  and  16  score  "capilles." 
Roger  Wryght,  deputy  to  George  Barlowe,  one  of  the  foresters- 
of-fee,  said  that  there  used  to  be  but  two  herds,  and  now  five, 
and  in  all  other  respects  confirmed  the  previous  witness. 
William  Bagshawe,  34,  Thomas  Bewell,  46,  Thomas  Bag- 
shawe,  26,  also  confirmed  the  statement  of  the  first  witness. 

The  Commissioners  further  reported  that  they  walked  through 
the  forest  and  saw,  that  same  day,  18  score  of  red  deer,  in- 

1  Capille,  capulle,  or  capul,  is  an  old  English  term  for  a  horse,  chiefly  north 
country.  It  is  used  in  Piers  Ploughman  and  the  Canterbury  Tales. 


eluding  calves  ;  that  many  of  the  deer  were  in  very  poor  con- 
dition, and  scarcely  likely  to  live  over  the  coming  winter  ;  that 
the  grass  was  much  trampled  and  poor,  and  that  there  was 
no  competent  sustenance  for  them  ;  that  it  would  be  well  if 
sheep  were  kept  out  of  the  champagne  of  the  forest,  as  they 
used  to  be  (for  so  they  were  assured  by  many  persons)  ;  and 
that  such  action,  if  enjoined  on  the  farmer  and  those  under 
him,  would  be  of  the  greatest  service  to  the  deer. 

The  attempts  made  by  the  chief  forest  ministers  to  keep 
down  the  sheep  in  the  interests  of  the  deer  brought  them  into 
various  conflicts  with  the  tenants,  the  bolder  of  whom  ventured 
to  appeal  to  the  chancellor  of  the  duchy. 

In  1529,  Allen  Sutton,  of  Overhaddon,  lodged  a  complaint,  as 
one  of  the  duchy  tenants,  that  on  22nd  June,  about  midnight, 
one  Richard  Knolls  and  William  Pycroft,  with  other  evilly 
disposed  persons,  servants  of  Richard  Savage,  steward  of  Peak 
Castle,  came  to  a  little  croft  adjoining  his  house  and  drove 
away  seventy  of  his  sheep,  and  also  three  of  his  neighbour's, 
and  kept  them  to  "this  day"  within  the  castle;  -and  that 
he  could  get  no  redress  from  the  steward,  who  maintained 
these  sheep  and  declined  to  restore  them.  To  this  bill,  William 
Pycroft,  bailiff  of  the  High  Peak,  replied  that  the  matter 
contained  therein  was  "  but  feigned,  and  only  intended  to  put 
him  to  vexation  and  treble  "  ;  and  that  if  it  were  true,  instead 
of  being  false,  Sutton  has  his  remedy  at  the  common  law  of 
the  land.  To  this  reply  Sutton  rejoined  that  his  bill  of  com- 
plaint was  good  and  true  in  every  point,  and  again  prayed  for 
restitution  of  his  goods. 

Henry  VIII.,  on  4th  March,  1531,  commissioned  Sir  Ralph 
Longford,  John  Fitzherbert,  Thomas  Babington,  John  Agard, 
and  Ralph  Agard,  to  inquire  into  diverse  complaints  made 
against  Thomas  Brown,  William  Pycroft,  Robert  Folowe,  and 
Allen  Sutton,  for  very  heinous  and  seditious  matters.  Against 
Robert  Folowe  it  was  alleged  that  he  was  outlawed  for  murder, 
as  maintained  by  the  Archbishop  of  York  and  others,  but  yet 
dwelt  in  the  High  Peak  ;  that  felons  and  murderers  were 
taken  by  Folowe  and  set  in  the  castle  of  the  Peak,  and  then 
for  a  bribe  let  go  again,  of  which  sixteen  examples  were 
given  ;  that  in  two  of  these  cases  he  received  as  much  as  sixty 
sheep  apiece  from  two  prisoners  ;  and  that  he  found  treasure 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     173 

trove  to  the  value  of  100  marks  and  appropriated  it.  Robert 
Folowe,  in  reply  to  this  bill,  filed  an  answer  to  the  effect 
that  he  could  make  no  reply  to  the  charge  of  outlawry, 
for  it  was  not  stated  whom  he  had  murdered,  nor  at  what  time 
or  place  ;  and  that  he  denied  seriatim  every  one  of  the  charges 
of  releasing  prisoners  from  Peak  Castle  for  bribes,  appealing 
to  God  and  his  country. 

In  his  answer  to  the  bill  of  articles  against  him,  William 
Pycroft  denies  felling  the  king's  wood  in  Edale,  Ashop,  or  any 
other  place,  or  lopping  the  same  for  his  cattle  or  fire,  or  killing 
the  king's  deer  in  the  forest  of  the  High  Peak.  He  further 
stated  that  he  had  for  some  time  held  the  office  of  bow-bearer 
of  the  forest,  and  through  the  due  discharge  of  his  office  had 
incurred  the  malice  of  certain  persons,  and  he  explicitly  denied 
that  he  had  ever  set  under  him  any  who  had  destroyed  the 
king's  woods  or  hurt  the  king's  deer. 

Robert  Folowe  was  at  this  time  bailiff  of  the  hundred  of 
the  High  Peak,  and  acted  as  deputy  to  Richard  Savage,  the 
steward  of  Peak  Castle,  under  Sir  George  Savage,  the 
custodian.  Another  charge  against  Folowe  was  that  he  had 
"withdrawn  and  taken  out  of  the  Castell  "  and  appropriated 
to  his  own  use  much  furniture,  such  as  tables,  forms,  bed- 
steads, lead  and  iron  vessels,  and  even  "iiij  wyndoose."  Some 
of  the  evidence  taken  on  behalf  of  Pycroft  before  the  com- 
mission is  extant,  but  the  finding  of  the  Commissioners  is 

A  great  court  of  attachment  was  held  at  the  Campana  lodge 
on  1 3th  November,  1542.  The  new  forester,  Francis,  Earl  of 
Shrewsbury,  who  had  succeeded  to  the  confiscated  office  of  the 
abbot  of  Basingwerk,  was  represented  by  Thomas  Johnson. 
Reginald  Pursglove  was  fined  6d.  for  lopping  green  trees,  and 
there  were  twenty-nine  other  like  offenders.  The  total  of  the 
day's  fines  was  14.?.  lod. 

A  great  court  of  attachment  and  swainmote  for  the  High 
Peak  was  held  at  Tideswell  on  3oth  October,  1559.  Hugh 
Needham,  Edward  Eyre,  and  George  Woodruff  were  the 
foresters  who  appeared  in  person  ;  the  rest  all  sent  deputies. 
Twenty-four  offenders  were  fined  for  lopping  trees  and  carrying 
off  undergrowth  in  Ashop  wood.  The  first  two  names  were 
Robert  and  Lawrence  Pursglove.  At  another  like  court,  held 


at  the  same  place  on  2nd  May,  1567,  twenty-one  persons  were 
fined  for  similar  offences. 

The  disputes  as  to  the  respective  rights  of  deer  and  sheep 
became  more  intensified  during  the  reign  of  Elizabeth.  In  1561 
Stephen  Bagott,  of  Hilton,  Staffordshire,  gentleman,  occupier 
of  the  "Champyon  of  the  Quenes  majesties  forest  of  the  Peake," 
by  lease  under  Edward  Lord  Hastings,  of  Loughborough,  the 
queen's  farmer,  complained  to  the  chancellor  (Sir  Ambrose 
Cave)  that  George  Blackwell,  Thomas  Bagshawe,  and  other 
servants  of  George  Earl  of  Shrewsbury  (Justice  in  Eyre  of 
the  Forest  and  High  Steward  of  the  Honor  of  Tutbury), 
claimed,  as  foresters,  to  have  rights  of  herbage,  pasture, 
turbary,  and  feeding  for  deer  over  the  Champyon,  which  was 
a  part  of  the  forest,  "a  verie  barren  country  of  wood  or  tyn- 
sell,"1  contrary  to  all  ancient  usage.  Blackwell  and  the  other 
foresters,  with  their  servants  to  the  number  of  nineteen  persons, 
were  definitely  charged  with  having  on  Monday  in  Easter  week, 
4  and  5  Philip  and  Mary,  violently  and  by  force  of  arms  taken 
400  wethers  and  400  ewes,  some  with  lambs,  feeding  on  the 
Champyon,  and  impounded  them  within  the  castle  of  the  Peak, 
and  kept  them  there  till  the  following  Friday  without  either 
meat  or  water,  by  reason  of  which  impounding  divers  of  the 
wethers,  ewes,  and  lambs  died,  causing  damage  to  Bagott  of 
£20  or  more. 

A  further  petition  of  the  same  Stephen  Bagott  complained 
that,  in  spite  of  the  orders  of  the  court,  Robert  Eyre  and 
other  foresters  continued  to  molest  the  horses,  mares,  colts, 
and  sheep  feeding  on  the  Champyon  and  to  impound  them  in 
Peak  Castle,  especially  last  Easter,  with  the  result  of  the  loss 
of  500  sheep,  in  addition  to  the  payment  of  heavy  impounding 

The  defendants  filed  a  reply  to  the  effect  that  they  were  the 
servants  of  the  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  Justice  in  Eyre  and 
High  Steward  of  the  Honor  of  Tutbury,  of  which  the  cham- 
pagne of  Peak  Forest  was  a  parcel  ;  that  this  champagne  was 
' 'the  principall  parte  of  the  seid  forest  wherein  the  Quenes 
majesties  deer  hath  their  onlye  feedinge  and  sustenaunce "  ; 
that  the  earl,  riding  through  the  forest  on  the  last  4th 
of  March,  perceived  a  great  number  of  sheep  depastur- 

1   Tynsell,  or  tinsel,  was  small  dry  wood,  such  as  was  collected  for  heating"  ovens. 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     175 

ing  on  the  champagne  "  wherebye  the  feedinge  for  the  seid 
dere  is  utterlye  consumed,  and  therebye  allso  the  said  deare 
forced  to  flee  out  of  the  seid  forest  for  their  relyfe  whereas 
they  be  killed  and  destroyed,"  commanded  Robert  Eyre 
to  drive  these  sheep  to  the  castle  of  the  Peak ;  that  this 
order  was  carried  out  without  killing,  destroying,  or  hurting 
any  of  the  shefcp  ;  that  the  sheep  were  only  impounded  for  half 
an  hour,  by  which  time  Bagott's  shepherd  and  the  other 
owners  claimed  the  same,  paying,  according  to  ancient  custom, 
a  penny  for  every  score. 

Humphrey  Barley,  William  Needham,  Thomas  Bagshawe, 
and  William  Bagshawe,  yeomen  and  foresters-of-fee,  who  had 
"  charge  custodye  and  looking  unto  of  all  the  Quenes  Majesties 
games  of  warren  and  especially  hir  game  of  Redd  deare  within 
the  same  forrest,  and  to  answere  for  the  defaults  and  negligent 
kepinge  of  the  same  game  of  dere  yf  the  same  should  be 
ympeyned  and  destroyed,"  reported  in  1567  "  that  the  game  of 
redd  deare  in  this  the  forest  hath  bene  much  decayed  about 
twoe  yeares  last  past  by  reason  of  two  extreme  wynters  in  the 
same  yeares,  and  that  through  the  extremetie  of  the  wether 
specyallye  frost  and  snowe  having  no  browse  to  helpe  the  same 
dere,  for  that  ytt  ys  a  champion  and  playne  place  wherein  no 
wood  groweth,  manye  of  the  said  deare  be  dead  and  manye 
of  them  be  strayed  into  other  foorests  and  places  adjoynyng 
and  are  not  herto  retorned  nor  to  be  recovered  so  that  there 
remayneth  not  of  rede  deere  in  the  said  forrest  of  all  sortes 
eyther  fallow  male  or  rascall  above  the  nomber  of  xxx  dere 
in  all."  In  consequence  of  this  the  foresters  sent  in  this 
statement  lest  they  should  be  accused  of  negligence,  and  prayed 
the  chancellor  (Sir  Ralph  Sadler)  that  a  restraint  may  be  had 
in  hunting  or  slaying  the  game  by  any  warrant  whatsoever  for 
six  years,  until  the  red  deer  be  replenished  to  their  former 
number,  which  was  about  360,  and  to  signify  the  same  re- 
straint to  the  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  the  queen's  master  of  the 
game  of  Peak  Forest. 

A  court  of  attachment  held  at  Tideswell  on  22nd  October, 

1566,  and  fourteen  vert  offenders  were  fined,  bringing  in  the 
aggregate  sum  of  4^.  zd.     At  the  next  court,  held  28th  April, 

1567,  los.  2d.  was  the  total  of  the  fines. 

In  June,  1561  the  queen  issued  a  commission  of  inquiry  as  to 


the  condition  of  Peak  Castle  and  Forest.     So  far  as  related  to 
the  latter,  the  Commissioners  were  instructed — 

"To  view  the  heighte  of  one  wall  erected  and  made  in  or  about 
one  parcell  of  one  pasture  called  the  Champion  within  our  saide 
foreste,  how  brode  and  depe  the  Dike  in  and  about  the  same  wall  is, 
whether  the  same  dike  be  drye  or  standings  with  water  for  the  most 
parte  of  the  yere,  and  whether  the  deare  maye  easlye  enter  in  and 
owte  to  and  fro  the  said  pasture  notwithstanding^  the  said  walle  and 
dike,  and  whether  the  same  wall  and  dyke  be  noisome  or  hurtefull  to 
or  for  our  deare  and  game  there,  and  to  thinderance  of  the  grasse  for 
our  said  deare,  or  be  better  for  the  cherisshinge  of  our  said  game  and 
deare  there  or  not." 

They  were  also  to  report  on  the  rights  of  pasturage  for  beasts 
and  cattle  prevailing  in  the  forest;  whether  the  foresters  "do 
diligently  use  and  keepe  their  walkes  aboute  the  said  Foreste," 
or  whether  they  use  any  part  of  the  fines  raised  at  swainmotes  for 
their  own  purposes;  what  oxgangs  they  (the  foresters)  hold,  and 
what  cattle  they  pasture  ;  whether  they  use  their  own  authority 
for  excusing  trespassers;  and  whether  the  pasturing  of  sheep 
is  not  very  hurtful  to  the  deer. 

One  of  the  main  results  of  this  commission  was  that  the 
Castle  of  the  Peak  was  spared  for  a  time  from  demolition,  and 
was  put  into  a  certain  kind  of  repair,  mainly  to  enable  it  to 
serve  as  a  forest  prison  ;  but  about  the  year  1585  the  buildings 
suffered  severely  from  fire.  In  June,  1589,  the  queen  issued 
a  further  commission  to  William  Agard,  "our  particular 
receiver  of  the  honor  of  Tutburie,"  and  another,  reciting  that 
the  castle  had  "by  mischance  within  these  five  yeres  been 
burned,  and  by  reason  thereof  become  ruinous  and  decayed 
that  it  standeth  void  of  any  use  .  .  .  wherebefore  yt  was 
usuallie  frequented  and  used  for  a  prison  for  offenders  there." 
The  commissioners  were  directed  to  repair  to  the  castle  without 
delay,  calling  to  them  such  artificers  and  workmen  as  they 
thought  necessary,  and  to  view  all  the  decayed  places,  and  to 
report  how  far  it  would  serve  to  be  made  a  prison  again,  and 
what  it  would  cost  to  be  repaired,  and  in  that  event  what  would 
the  castle  and  site  be  worth  to  be  let  by  the  year. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  George  Earl  of  Shrewsbury  (he 
had  been  taken  again  into  favour  by  the  queen  in  his  old  age 

THE   FOREST   OF  THE   HIGH   PEAK     177 

in  1587;  he  died  in  1590),  was  permitted  to  purchase  part  of  the 
Longdendale  district  of  the  Peak  Forest,  which  was  formally 
disafforested  for  the  purpose.  At  this  date  a  large  quaint  map 
of  the  whole  forest  was  prepared,  showing  great  parallelograms 
painted  vermilion  where  there  were  pasturage  rights,  and  out- 
line pictures  of  the  towns.  This  big  map  was  at  some  unknown 
date  cut  up  into  sections  ;  a  part  of  it  is  missing,  but  the  three 
main  portions  are  preserved  at  the  Public  Record  Office.  On 
the  Ashop  and  Edale  section  of  the  forest,  five  contiguous 
great  patches  of  vermilion  are  shown,  and  by  them  is  written, 
11  The  Queenes  Majestys  farmes  are  divided  into  five  vacaries." 
Near  Glossop  it  is  stated  on  the  map  that  the  greater  part  of 
the  forest  there  was  then  held  by  the  Earl  of  Shrewsbury. 
A  rectangular  patch,  more  to  the  west  of  the  Longdendale 
division,  is  described:  "The  herbage  of  Chynly  otherwise 
called  Maidstonfeld,  God.  Bradshawe  and  others  farmes." 

Gilbert,  seventh  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  was  appointed  chief- 
justice  in  eyre  of  the  forests  north  of  the  Trent  by  James  I.  in 
1603,  an  office  that  gave  him  oversight  of  the  game.  The  earl, 
writing  to  his  uncle,  Sir  John  Manners,  from  Sheffield  Lodge, 
on  4th  July,  1609,  says:  "I  have  sent  you  a  note  to  Mr.  Tunsted 
for  a  stag  in  the  Peak  Forest,  but  I  doubt  if  there  are  any  fat 
enough  so  early  in  the  year."  In  June,  1610,  the  Council  sent 
a  letter  to  the  earl,  as  justice  in  eyre  beyond  Trent,  to  prohibit 
the  inhabitants  and  borderers  of  the  forests  of  the  Peak  from 
destroying  moor  fowl  and  heath  poults. 

Among  memoranda  of  business  to  be  submitted  to  the 
Council  in  June,  1626,  occurs  a  petition  from  Francis  Tunsted, 
who  held  a  pension  of  £50  per  annum  as  bow-bearer  in  the 
High  Peak  and  keeper  of  the  moor  game;  but  the  pension  had 
not  been  paid  for  the  last  year,  and  he  sought  the  king's  order 
for  its  payment  and  continuance. 

On  2Oth  February,  1639,  a  warrant  was  issued  to  the  chan- 
cellor of  the  duchy  to  appoint  fit  persons  to  treat  and  compound 
with  the  freeholders,  tenants,  and  commoner  of  wastes  and  com- 
mons belonging  to  the  hundred  and  forest  of  High  Peak,  for 
granting  the  king's  right  and  interest  of  soil.  Just  a  year  later 
a  further  warrant  was  issued  to  the  chancellor  to  compound  for 
disafforesting  all  lands  of  the  king's  within  the  honor  and 
forest  of  the  Peak. 


A  large  proportion  of  the  duchy  documents  of  the  latter 
half  of  Charles  I.  's  reign  are  missing,  but  from  a  much  later 
document  we  are  fortunately  able  to  give  the  true  account  of 
this  disafforesting  process  for  the  first  time,  and  thus  to  correct 
a  variety  of  contradictory  and  erroneous  statements  that  have 
hitherto  been  put  forth  on  the  subject. 

In  1772  an  inquiry  was  made  as  to  the  state  of  the  king's 
title  to  timber,  mines,  and  coal  within  the  disafforested  forest 
of  the  High  Peak.  The  outline  history  of  the  forest  is  correctly 
given  in  that  report. 

In  1635  tne  landowners  and  inhabitants  within  the  forest 
petitioned  the  king,  complaining  of  the  severity,  trouble,  and 
rigour  of  the  forest  laws,  and  praying  that  the  deer  (which 
were  in  sufficient  numbers  to  do  considerable  damage  to  crops 
in  the  forest  and  its  purlieus)  might  be  destroyed,  and  asking 
to  be  allowed  to  compound  by  enclosing  and  improving  the 
same.  Thereupon  the  king  issued  a  commission  of  inquiry 
under  the  duchy  seal,  and  directed  that  two  juries  should 
be  impanelled,  appointing  a  surveyor  to  assist  them.  The 
first  jury  viewed  the  whole  forest  and  its  purlieus,  and  presented 
that  the  king  might  improve  and  enclose  one  moiety  in  con- 
sideration of  his  rights,  and  that  the  other  moiety  should  be 
enclosed  by  the  tenants,  commoners,  and  freeholders.  The 
other  jury  was  impanelled  to  consider  the  question  of  the 
towns  within  the  purlieus,  and  they  presented  that  the  king,  in 
view  of  the  largeness  of  the  commons  belonging  to  the  towns 
of  Chelmorton,  Flagg,  Teddington,  and  Priestcliffe,  might 
reasonably  have  for  improvement  and  enclosure  one-third,  and 
the  remaining  two-thirds  for  the  commoners  and  freeholders. 
Both  Crown  and  inhabitants  were  well  pleased  with  the  result. 
The  commons  were  measured,  and  surveys  made  that  divided 
the  lands  into  three  sorts— best,  middle,  and  worst — and  the 
king's  share  was  staked,  and  maps  showing  the  results  were 
drafted.  The  surveys  were  not  completed  until  1640,  and 
all  the  preliminaries  having  been  adjusted,  the  king  caused  all 
the  deer  to  be  destroyed  or  removed,  and  since  that  date  the 
report  expressly  states  that  there  were  never  any  deer  whatever 
within  the  High  Peak  Forest.  The  extirpation  of  the  deer 
was  almost  immediately  followed  by  the  beginning  of  "the 
troublous  times"  that  preceded  the  actual  outbreak  of  the  Civil 

THE   FOREST  OF  THE   HIGH    PEAK     179 

War,  and   hence  further  proceedings  came  for  a  time  to  an 

Throughout  the  Commonwealth,  though  it  had  lost  its  deer, 
and  though  the  forest  laws  were  upset,  the  Peak  Forest 
remained  as  hitherto,  and  no  enclosures  were  carried  out. 

"A  Survey  of  the  Mannor  and  Lordship  or  Liberty  of  the 
High  Peake  with  the  rights,  members,  and  appurtenances 
thereof  lyeing  and  being  in  the  county  of  Derby,  late  parcell 
of  possessions  of  Charles  Stuart,  late  King  of  England  in  right 
of  the  Honor  of  Tutbury,  parcell  of  his  Duchy  of  Lancaster," 
was  taken  by  order  of  Parliament  in  July,  1650. 

The  Commissioners  reported  that  the  chief  rents  due  from 
freeholders,  "holding  by  Harryott  Service  and  paying  Harryott 
and  holding  in  free  Socage,"  amounted  to  ^72  i2s.  2\d.  ; 
chief  rents  from  freeholders,  "  not  Harryottable,"  £5  17^.  id.  ; 
rents  of  assize  from  copyholders,  £3  14$-.  7^.  ;  profits  of  tolls 
of  four  fairs  at  Chapel-en-le-Frith  (on  Ascension  Day,  Thurs- 
day after  Trinity  Sunday,  7th  of  July,  and  Thursday  after 
Michaelmas  Day),  with  the  passage  and  stallage  of  these  fairs, 
and  also  the  passage  and  through  toll  levied  on  packs  and 
carriages  passing  at  Hayfield  and  Whaley  Bridge,  .£7  ;  per- 
quisites and  profits  of  Court  Leets  and  Court  Barons,  £24  ; 
waifs,  strays,  and  felons'  goods  and  deodands,  £5  ;  fisheries, 
2os.  ;  fowlings,  hawkings,  and  huntings,  2os. 

They  further  reported  that  King  Charles,  in  February,  1636, 
had  demised  to  Walter  Vernon  all  perquisites  and  amerce- 
ments of  two  court  leets  and  fifteen  small  courts  to  be  held 
yearly,  and  all  heriots  and  reliefs  for  thirty-one  years  at  a 
rental  of  £10. 

An  additional  report  was  made  in  July  1652,  "  of  all  such 
Remaine  of  Rents  now  unsold  belonging  to  ye  manner  Lord- 
ship Liberty  and  Hundred  of  ye  High  Peake  alias  the  Wapen- 
take  of  ye  High  Peake  .  .  .  commonly  called  Cheife  Rents 
money,  palfry  money,  Turbary  money,  Common  Fine  silver, 
&  Tything  silver."  These  rents  were  estimated  at  £15  6s.  *]d. 
a  year  ;  they  were  proportionate  payments  from  the  various 
townships.  A  simple  payment  for  palfrey  money  is  entered 
against  all  the  townships  ;  such  are  Whitfield  and  Chisworth, 
is.  io^d.  ;  Hayfield  and  Dinting,  is.  ^d.  ;  Tideswell,  2s.  6d.  ; 
and  Hassop,  5^.  In  addition,  Tideswell  paid  5^.  ;  Haslebache, 


zs.  6d.  ;  and  Litton  and  Ward  low,  each  3-r.  4^.  for  turbary  ; 
whilst  Little  Hucklow  stands  alone  with  i s.  for  common  silver. 
The  Parliamentary  trustees  had  sold  the  forest  rights  named  in 
the  previous  report  to  "  Capt.  David  Hurdum,  trustee  on  the 
behalf  of  Colonel  Hughson's  Regiment." 

It  was  not  until  1674  that  the  project  for  disafforesting  the 
Peak  Forest,  and  enclosing  the  cultivatable  or  good  pasturing 
portions  was  completed.  The  Commissioners  appointed  for 
the  purpose  were  Sir  John  Cassy,  Sir  John  Gell,  and  fifteen 
others,  including  such  well-known  Peak  names  as  Bagshaw, 
Eyre,  and  Shalcross. 


DUFFIELD  FRITH,  or  forest,  was  the  name  of  a  con- 
siderable expanse  of  forest  land  a  few  miles  to  the  north 
of  the  county  town.  Though  one  of  the  smaller  of  the 
royal  forests,  it  had  a  circuit  of  somewhat  over  thirty  miles, 
even  in  the  days  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  when  it  had  undergone 
considerable  reduction. 

Henry  de  Ferrers,  one  of  the  chief  favourites  of  the 
Conqueror,  held  no  fewer  than  1 14  manors  or  lordships  in 
Derbyshire,  at  the  time  of  the  Domesday  Survey,  as  well  as 
many  others  on  the  borders  of  the  shire.  Duffield,  on  the 
Derwent,  at  the  entrance  of  the  valley  that  gave  access  to 
the  lead  mines  of  Wirksworth,  made  an  admirable  centre 
for  the  controlling  government  of  the  great  Norman  baron. 
Here,  on  a  site  formerly  used  both  by  Romans  and  Saxons, 
he  erected  a  most  massive  fortress,  which  was  demolished 
temp.  Henry  III.,  in  consequence  of  the  rebellion  of  his 
descendant,  Robert  Earl  Ferrers. 

From  the  time  when  the  forfeited  Ferrers'  estates  were  con- 
firmed by  the  Crown  on  Edmund  Earl  of  Lancaster,  Duffield 
and  Duffield  Frith  became  part  of  the  honor  of  Tutbury, 
and  formed  a  valuable  section  of  the  property  of  the  earldom, 
afterwards  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster.  The  frith  was  not  a  true 
royal  forest  until  Henry  Duke  of  Lancaster  came  to  the 
throne  as  Henry  IV.  in  1399.  It  had,  however,  been  techni- 
cally ruled  as  a  royal  forest  for  more  than  a  century  before 
that  date;  for  Edward  I.,  at  the  beginning  of  his  reign, 
granted  his  brother  Edmund  the  right  of  having  justices  of 
the  forest,  whenever  the  king  appointed  such  for  his  own 
forests,  and  also  granted  him  and  his  heirs  of  the  earldom 



the  fines  and  ransoms  that  might  accrue  from  the  holding 
of  the  eyre.  After  the  destruction  of  Duffield  Castle,  the 
castle  of  Tutbury  became  the  centre  of  the  forest  jurisdiction 
of  Duffield  Frith  and  the  prison  for  venison  trespassers. 

Such  history  as  can  be  given  of  this  forest  is  very  meagre 
for  the  earlier  period  ;   but  at  a  later  date,  when  the  earlier 

HUNTING  COSTUME.      THIRTEENTH   CENTURY.      (See  pp.  64-5. ) 

forest  legislation  was  in  many  respects  falling  into  desuetude, 
the  records  of  the  attachment  or  swainmote  courts — almost 
invariably  termed  woodmotes  in  this  forest — as  well  as  par- 
ticulars as  to  its  customs  are  unusually  full  and  interesting. 
They  offer  considerable  contrast  in  many  respects  to  the 
records  of  the  Peak  Forest.  In  the  Peak  the  deer,  save  for 
a  few  fallow  "chance"  deer  or  strays,  and  some  roe  deer  in 
its  earlier  days,  was  exclusively  red  ;  in  Duffield  Frith,  on 
the  other  hand,  the  deer  were  exclusively  fallow.  In  the 


wild  Peak  district  the  bounds  of  the  forest  were  only  known 
from  encircling  rivers  or  streams,  or  from  boundary  stones 
and  crosses  ;  and  there  was  but  one  kind  of  park,  namely, 
the  great  stone  enclosure  of  Champion  or  Campana.  Con- 
trariwise, Duffield  Forest  had  pales  all  round  it,  which  the 
adjacent  tenants  were  bound  to  keep  in  repair,  and  it  abounded 
in  a  number  of  separately  paled  and  specially  preserved  parks. 

The  Peak  Forest  was  never  in  any  way  wooded  throughout 
by  far  the  larger  part  of  its  area  ;  but  Duffield  was  wooded 
almost  everywhere  when  first  it  came  into  the  hands  of  the 
Ferrers.  Nevertheless,  in  the  stonier  stretches  of  parts  of 
Duffield  and  Colebrook  wards  there  must  have  been  much 
that  was  always  thinly  covered  with  undergrowth,  whilst  a 
considerable  part  of  the  area  had  no  resemblance  to  what  is 
now  understood  as  forest  by  the  time  that  it  became  part 
of  the  earldom  of  Lancaster. 

The  singularly  full  accounts  of  the  opening  years  of 
Edward  II.  show  that  Duffield  Frith  not  only  included  within 
its  area  a  great  number  of  parks,  which  were  the  special 
homes  of  the  deer — though  the  park  fences,  whilst  excluding 
cattle,  etc.,  permitted  them  to  wander  at  will  through  other 
parts  of  the  forest — but  also  cow  pastures,  small  sheep  walks, 
coal  mines,  and  iron  forges. 

As  to  the  parks,  they  were  thus  distributed  in  the  time  of 
Edward  I.,  and  remained  so  (save  for  the  speedily  extinguished 
Champagne  park)  until  the  seventeenth  century.  Ravensdale 
(where  was  the  central  lodge  or  manor  house  of  the  whole 
forest)  and  Mansell  parks,  in  Hulland  ward  ;  Champagne, 
Postern,  and  part  of  Shottle  park,  in  Duffield  ward  ;  Milnhay 
(not  always  reckoned  as  a  park,  but  separately  paled)  and  the 
larger  part  of  Shottle  park,  in  Colebrook  ward  ;  and  Lady 
or  Little  Helper  and  Morley  parks,  in  Helper  ward. 

In  an  account  of  Helper  ward  for  1272-3  occurs  the  earliest 
known  mention  of  the  chapel  adjoining  the  Helper  manor 
house,  which  was  expressly  founded  for  the  use  of  the  foresters. 
John,  the  chaplain  who  celebrated  at  that  chapel,  held  7  acres 
and  i  rood  of  demesne  land  in  Fishyard,  in  lieu  of  rent  of 
nine  cottages  built  on  3  acres  of  land  that  had  been  previously 
granted  to  the  Helper  chaplain. 

At  a  Helper  woodmote  court  of  1304,  various  offenders  pre- 


sented  by  the  foresters  paid  i2d.  as  fines  for  suffering  foals  and 
mares  to  wander  in  the  ward,  and  smaller  fines  for  plough- 
cattle  and  sheep.  At  a  Duffield  ward  woodmote  of  the  same 
year,  several  vert  trespassers  were  presented  for  carrying  off 
loads  of  green  oak  and  of  whitethorn. 

The  accounts  of  Duffield  Forest,  as  returned  to  the  duchy 
receiver-general,  from  Michaelmas,  1313,  to  Michaelmas, 
1314,  are  exceptionally  full  and  detailed. 

For  Belper  ward  William  de  Simondsley  was  the  receiver, 
and  his  receipts,  including  arrears  from  previous  years  of  over 
£8,  amounted  to  £109  us.  n^d.  Six  score  hens  were  sold  for 
i$s.  to  supply  the  lord's  table  at  Donnington,  and  3-r.  4^.  was 
obtained  elsewhere  for  another  score.  The  winter  agistment 
of  plough-cattle  throughout  the  ward  realised  7^.  ud.,  and  the 
summer  agistment  £4  is.  ^d.  The  summer  agistment  fees 
for  Morley  park  were  $is. ,  and  the  herbage  of  a  close  near  the 
park  gate  sold  for  i2d.  There  were  no  receipts  that  year  from 
the  little  park  of  Belper.  Thirty-four  acres  of  meadow  at 
Belper  laund  realised  33^.  2d.  Not  more  than  twelve  acres 
were  mown  there  for  the  coming  of  the  lord  to  Belper  ;  that 
was,  we  suppose,  to  supply  the  horses  of  his  retinue  with 
fodder.  Twenty  acres  were  mown  there  for  storage  for  the 
lord  at  the  deer-house,  and  twenty  acres  more  for  a  like 
purpose  (i.e.  for  winter  food  for  the  deer)  at  Bullsmore. 
Twenty-three  acres  of  meadow  grass  in  Morley  park  were 
sold  for  i8s.  \\d.,  and  the  residue  was  cut  and  stored  for  the 
lord.  The  fishing  of  the  Derwent  was  let  for  5^.,  and  ^s. 
was  paid  by  fowlers  for  licence  to  catch  birds  in  the  ward. 
There  was  no  honey  or  wax  entered  for  the  year.  Wood  and 
bark  sales  realised  19^.  An  unclaimed  stray  ox  was  sold  for 
8s. ,  while  6d.  was  paid  to  redeem  a  stray  calf,  and  2s.  to 
redeem  two  stirks.  The  large  sum  of  £13  los.  was  obtained 
for  getting  coal  at  "  Denebyhuyrum."  The  ward  woodmote 
fines  and  court  fees  brought  in  ,£4  $s.  lod.  But  far  the  largest 
receipts  of  this  ward  were  for  the  forges  or  smithies,  for  Belper, 
as  early  as  the  beginning  of  the  fourteenth  century,  had  a 
considerable  sale  for  nails.  One  forge  that  was  at  work  for 
eleven  weeks,  save  four  days  from  Michaelmas  to  St.  Thomas 
the  Apostle's  Day,  paid  a  farm  rent  or  royalty  of  £j  8s.  io%d.  ; 
whilst  two  forges  that  were  working  twenty-four  weeks,  save 


four  days,  namely,  from  the  Purification  to  Michaelmas, 
brought  in  .£63  6s.  8d.  It  was,  doubtless,  the  presence  of  coal 
near  the  surface  round  Belper  (which  was  not  exhausted  till 
near  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century)  that  brought  the  trade 
in  wrought  iron  to  this  part  of  the  forest. 

The  first  item  of  expenditure  entered  is  3^.  2d.  for  Duffield 
rectorial  tithes  on  the  herbage  of  Morley  park,  and  of  a  close 
there.  A  particularly  interesting  customary  payment,  denoting 
the  risk  incurred  in  traversing  the  roads  of  Duffield  Forest,  is 
8s.  for  warding  the  road  of  the  Cross  (via  de  la  rode)  on  Derby 
market  days,  a  duty  that  devolved  on  the  forest  officials.  The 
sum  of  39-$-.  \\\d.  was  spent  in  making  482  pales  for  the  new 
fencing  of  Morley  park  and  Belper  laund,  and  26s.  *j\d.  in 
repairing  and  re-erecting  384  broken  or  prostrate  pales  in  the 
same  fences.  The  man  who  worked  for  sixty-three  days  in 
mending  the  broken  and  defective  pales,  received  $s.  3^.,  or  a 
wage  of  id.  a  day.  The  sum  of  $s.  6d.  was  paid  for  strewing 
the  deer-browse  or  loppings  in  the  winter  through  the  ward 
and  in  the  little  park.  Thatching  the  roof  of  the  great  larder 
for  the  salted  venison,  adjoining  Belper  manor  house,  cost  2s., 
while  26s.  was  paid  for  the  salt  required  that  year  in  the  larder. 
Fourpence  was  the  small  sum  paid  for  measuring  the  pasturage 
within  and  without  the  park.  The  sum  of  ,£90  'js.  8%d.  of  the 
receipts  was  handed  over  to  Nicholas  de  Shipley  through  ten 
tallies.  At  the  end  of  the  year  the  receiver  still  owed  to  the 
earl  £8  os.  6d. 

Of  Duffield  ward  Ralph  le  Corviser  was  the  receiver  ;  his 
receipts,  including  arrears,  were  £20  i8s.  yd.  The  first  entry 
among  the  receipts  is  i2S.  gd.  for  102  hens  sold  for  the  lord's 
table,  and  i2d.  for  six  hens  sold  elsewhere.  The  winter  and 
summer  agistment  throughout  the  ward,  including  the  parks 
of  Shottle  and  Postern  and  the  herbage  of  "Muxelclif"  and 
Longley,  produced  no  monetary  return,  for  it  was  all  pastured 
or  mown  for  the  lord.  The  pannage  of  swine  from  two  persons 
outside  the  ward  brought  in  2S.  ;  the  fishing  of  the  Ecclesburn, 
\2d. ;  the  fishery  of  the  Derwent,  $d. ;  the  sale  of  wood,  bark, 
and  deer-browse,  315.  8d.  ;  the  licensing  of  fowlers,  2S.  ;  and 
the  woodmote  fees  and  fines,  34^.  2d.  The  receiver  of  this 
ward  also  accounted  for  £41  6s.  2^.,  paid  in  pannage  pence  for 
swine  throughout  the  whole  forest,  deducting  the  tithes  of  the 


same  payable  to  the  prior  of  Tutbury,  and  55^.  for  the  pannage 
of  small  pigs.  The  outgoings  show  that  this  ward,  like  that 
of  Helper,  also  paid  8s.  a  year  for  guarding  the  road  of  the 
Cross  on  Derby  market  days. 

The  heaviest  outgoing  was  the  aggregate  sum  of  £3  2s.  i  \\d. 
for  renewing  and  repairing  the  pale  fences  and  clearing  the 
dykes,  particularly  round  Shottle  Park  ;  4?.  $\d.  was  also  paid 
for  new  fencing  within  that  park  by  the  side  of  the  Ecclesburn 
to  protect  the  meadow  land  there,  and  \^d.  for  making  a  water 
gate.  There  were  further  small  sums  for  park  gates,  and  for 
mending  a  bridge  and  for  the  carriage  of  the  timber  for  these 
various  purposes.  The  sum  of  2s.  qd.  was  paid  for  strewing 
deer-browse  in  the  winter.  A  pinfold  was  removed  from 
Hazelwood  and  carried  to  Shottle  at  the  small  charge  of  6d. 
The  most  interesting  outlay  in  the  accounts  of  this  ward  is  the 
expenditure  of  the  sum  of  6^.  8d.  on  mending  the  road  be- 
tween the  parks  of  Shottle  and  Postern  for  the  carriage  of 
coal  to  the  lord's  forge,  which  stood,  as  we  learn  from  other 
accounts,  on  the  further  side  of  the  Ecclesburn,  just  beyond 
Cowhouse  Lane.  The  expenses  of  the  foresters  and  others  in 
connection  with  the  pannage  amounted  to  17.?.  &£.,  whilst 
149.  ^d.  was  paid  to  the  clerks  of  the  master  forester  and  the 
attorney  of  the  prior  of  Tutbury  and  the  foresters  at  the 
pannage  court. 

Of  Colebrook  ward,  John  FitzRalph  was  the  receiver,  and 
his  receipts  for  the  year,  including  the  recovery  of  the  large 
amount  of  £36  gs.  io\d.  of  arrears,  came  to  £70  13^.  6\d. 
The  agistment  of  Milnhay  produced  $is.  io\d.,  and  of  Shottle 
park  (most  of  which  was  in  this  ward)  £15  ids.  yd.  The 
herbage  of  Schymeed  (Shining  Cliff)  brought  in  ifs.  The 
townships  of  Alderwasley,  Colebrook,  Ashleyhay,  Hulland, 
Newbiggin,  and  Idridgehay  paid  a  composition  of  4^.,  prob- 
ably as  an  acknowledgment  from  the  "outlands"  parks.  The 
fishery  of  the  Ecclesburn  produced  nothing  that  year,  but  6d. 
was  paid  for  the  Derwent  fishery  rights  of  this  ward.  Henry 
del  Hay  paid  2$.  as  composition  with  the  lord's  tenants  within 
the  forest.  Licences  for  fowlers  in  this  ward  and  in  Shottle 
produced  4^.  The  sale  of  wood,  bark,  and  boughs  realised 
17-r.  6d.  Following  this  comes  an  entry  that  seems  to  imply 
an  occasional  sale  of  thick  oak  bark,  or  cork,  for  some  specific 


use.  The  entry  runs,  De  cork  nil  hoc  anno.  The  word  "  cork  " 
is  derived  from  the  Latin  cortex.  Reference  has  already  been 
made  to  the  maple  bowls  from  this  ward. 

The  outgoings  begin  with  a  like  entry  of  8^.  to  the  two 
wards  already  mentioned  for  warding  the  road  of  the  Cross  on 
Derby  market  days.  The  paler  for  this  road  and  Shottle  park 
received  an  annual  stipend  of  5-r.  for  repairs,  and  in  addi- 
tion he  received  this  year  icw.  lod.  for  the  making  of 
new  pales.  The  strewing  of  the  deer-browse  in  the  severe 
weather  cost  7^.  $d.  The  considerable  sum  of  40^.  was  paid 
to  Peter  Bulners  for  carrying  a  letter  of  Lord  Robert  de 
Holand  directed  to  the  receiver  at  Tutbury.  From  the  sum- 
mary at  the  end  of  the  ward  accounts,  it  seems  that  the 
receiver  of  Colebrook  had  in  hand  the  great  sum  of  £40  is.  i  id. 
for  the  sale  of  bowl* wood  for  that  and  the  two  preceding 
years,  and  that  he  sought  instructions  how  he  was  to  allo- 
cate it. 

Of  the  ward  of  Hulland,  John  Hulleson  was  the  ward  re- 
ceiver; the  receipts  for  the  year,  including  66s.  8^d.  of  arrears, 
amounted  to  £29  7.?.  z\d.  The  agistment  of  the  two  parks  of 
this  ward — Mansell  and  Ravensdale — realised  the  respective 
sums  of  35-r.  3d.  and  36$.  lod.  The  sale  of  wood,  bark  and 
boughs  produced  £17  13^.  4^.  ;  2Od.  was  received  in  fines  for 
two  stray  colts,  $s.  for  the  sale  of  a  waif,  and  £4  is.  nd.  as 
court  fees  of  the  woodmotes.  There  is  an  entry  of  2s.  under 
the  head  of  cheminage  ;  the  wayleave  in  this  case  was  prob- 
ably for  some  exceptional  transit  during  the  fence  month. 
The  exceptional  entry  for  this  ward  is  4-$-.  6d.  for  "  ix.  coks- 

The  outgoings  of  this  ward  begin  with  the  entry  of  4^.  for 
warding  the  Corkley  road  (via  de  CorkelegJi)  on  Derby  market 
days.  Corkley  is  the  name  still  borne  by  an  isolated  farm- 
house about  a  mile  south  of  Turnditch,  on  the  margin  of 
Hulland  ward.  The  yearly  wage  of  the  keeper  of  Ravens- 
dale  park  amounted  to  63$.  8d.  Within  this  park  stood  the 
chief  lodge  of  DufHeld  Frith,  which  was  the  hunting  seat  of 
the  earls  and  dukes  of  Lancaster  when  in  this  part  of  their 
estates,  and  which  was  occasionally  honoured  by  the  presence 
of  royalty.  Very  considerable  repairs  were  done  to  the  lodge 
and  park  of  Ravensdale  during  this  year.  The  small  sum  of 


"js.  6d.  was  paid  for  preparing  i53OO  shingles  (cendulce)  and  200 
boards  for  roofing  the  different  parts  of  the  manor  house  ;  the 
timber  itself  would,  of  course,  be  provided  out  of  the  forest. 
Painted  glass  for  the  windows  of  the  manor  chapel  only  cost 
i6s.,  but  i8d.  was  also  paid  for  buying  iron  and  making  it  into 
bars  for  the  support  of  these  windows.  The  renewing  of  the 
park  pales  of  Ravensdale  and  repairing  and  setting  up  the 
old  ones  cost  ijs.  3^d.,  whilst  4^.  4^.  was  spent  over  the  park 
gates  towards  Corkley  and  at  "  Schakesdon."  The  making 
good  of  eighty-five  new  pales,  and  the  repairing  of  upwards 
of  600  old  pales  of  Mansell  park,  cost  £3  los.  nd.  A  new 
hedge  for  part  of  the  same  park  toward  Pintclifford  cost 
13^.,  and  2s.  was  spent  in  mending  the  deer-leap  towards 

Under  the  head  of  Venatio  de  Duffeld  Frith,  full  particulars 
are  given  of  all  the  venison  taken  in  the  forest,  and  its  disposal. 
The  grand  total  for  the  year  was  :  one  hart,  ninety-six  bucks, 
and  twenty-five  does. 

The  stock  of  the  forest  is  next  set  forth  under  the  heading 
Instaur'  de  Duffeld.  The  account  is  rendered  by  Robert  Frely 
and  Nicholas  Fitz-Giles,  the  stockmen  (instauratores}  of  Duf- 
field.  The  sale  of  thirty-two  of  the  lord's  oxen  realised 
,£23  3>r.  4^.,  an  exceptionally  good  price.  A  bull  and  sixteen 
cows  in  calf  sold  for  £g  13$.  The  skins  and  flesh  of  four 
cows,  the  skins  of  six  cows,  the  skins  and  flesh  of  four  steers, 
and  the  skins  of  twenty-seven  calves  sold  for  44^.  gd.  The 
milk  of  eighty-eight  cows  brought  in  £g  2s.  6d.  There  were 
but  few  sheep  on  the  outskirts  of  the  forest ;  the  ewes  were 
milked,  but  the  sheep  account  was  annexed  to  that  of  Hart- 
ington.  The  rest  of  the  receipts  came  from  mowing  and 
carrying  the  hay  of  two  tenants. 

The  payments  included  30-$-.  2d.  in  wages  for  those  who 
looked  after  the  cattle  and  calves  in  Postern  park  ;  36^.  ^d.  for 
mowing,  and  i8s.  2d.  for  haymaking  and  carrying  the  hay  of 
eighty-seven  acres  in  the  same  park  ;  and  2is.  6d.  for  carrying 
105  loads  of  hay  from  Longley  Meadows,  Postern  park,  Mor- 
ley  park,  and  Bullsmoor  to  the  cowhouses  of  Postern  and 
Belper.  The  sum  of  3^.  8d.  was  paid  for  stubbing  up  two 
acres  of  waste,  and  hedging  it  in  for  the  sustenance  of  calves 
and  colts,  and  3^.  2d.  for  two  quarters  of  oats  for  sowing  the 


same.  The  dairy  at  Postern  had  i6s.  8s.  expended  on  its 
various  buildings,  and  4-$-.  gd.  was  spent  on  mending  the  road 
by  the  Ecclesburn,  to  permit  of  the  carriage  of  timber  for  the 
work.  The  sum  of  i6s.  8{d.  was  spent  on  hedges  and  ditches 
round  "  Maxenclif "  and  "  Mareclos  "  in  the  same  park,  and  4^. 
in  repairing  the  fence  of  Bullsmoor.  A  shilling  was  expended 
on  drugs  for  sickly  cattle. 

The  full  return  of  the  stock  of  Duffield  Frith  for  that  year  was 
thirty-eight  oxen,  157  cows,  five  bulls,  thirty-three  heifers,  fifty- 
one  steers,  and  seventy-three  cows.     Of  these  there  were  sold, 
consumed,  or  died  in  the  course  of  the  year,  thirty  oxen,  fifty- 
one  cows,  two  bulls,  four  steers,  and  thirty-four  calves. 

Roger  Beler's  accounts  for  1322-3,  are  of  some  interest,  as 
also  are  those  for  1326-7.  The  latter  mention  32^.  paid  as  the 
tithe  of  the  mills  of  Duffield  and  Belper  to  the  rector  of  Duf- 
field, which  is  henceforth  an  annual  entry  whenever  the  accounts 
are  extant.  Under  Richard  de  Slope,  who  was  then  parker  of 
Ravensdale,  considerable  repairs  were  done  to  the  chief  lodge 
of  the  forest  or  earl's  manor  house  within  that  park,  including 
22s.  q.d.  paid  to  a  workman  for  134  days'  labour  at  2d.  a  day  on 
the  roofs,  doors,  and  windows.  The  total  expenditure  on  the 
great  house  and  park  was  £5  $s.  9!^.,  and  embraced  payment 
for  1,500  shingles,  and  100  spikes,  100  "  bordnayles,"  and 
painting  and  plastering  with  white  clay  (plasticando  cum 

Among  the  expenses  of  the  reeve  of  Belper  (Simon  Payn) 
for  1327-8,  are  some  exceptional  entries  that  throw  light  upon 
the  then  condition  of  that  forest  town  and  township.  The 
expenses  included  £9  worth  of  lead  for  the  water  conduit  in 
the  park ;  39^.  ^\d.  for  making  a  wall  round  the  pond  there, 
etc.  ;  22s.  lod.  for  roof  shingles  and  for  stone  for  the  walls  of 
a  garderobe  for  the  lodge  ;  14.?.  id.  for  repairing  the  knights' 
lodge  (camere  milituni),  and  providing  it  with  three  garderobes ; 
17^.  for  paling  and  hedging  the  lord's  garden  ;  4^.  for  carriage 
of  venison  from  the  Belper  larder  to  Tutbury  ;  4^.  for  the 
carriage  of  salt  to  the  larder  ;  and  3^.  8d.  for  repairing  the 
glass  windows  of  the  chapel.  There  was  also  a  charge  in 
another  part  of  the  accounts  for  a  man  and  a  cart  carrying  six 
does  to  the  lord  at  Kenilworth.  The  receiver  from  Belper 
ward  had  $s.  from  Henry  Alisson  and  his  companions  for 


licences  as  fowlers,  and  7^.  8d.  for  five  oaks  for  the  garderobe 
for  the  camera  juxta  coquinam.  Among  the  outgoings  of 
Colebrook  ward  for  that  year  were  27^.  5^.  as  tithe  to  the 
rector  of  Duffield  of  the  agistment  of  Shottle  park,  and  izd. 
for  mending  the  hedge  and  the  deer-leap  between  the  forest  and 
Crich  Chase. 

On  loth  November,  1330,  Henry,  Earl  of  Lancaster  lessened 
the  area  of  Duffield  Frith  by  bestowing  Champagne  park  by 
charter  on  his  beloved  valet  Robert  Foucher  and  Cicely  his 
wife  and  their  heirs  ;  it  had  been  disafforested  and  placed  in 
private  hands  as  early  as  the  reign  of  Edward  I. 

The  records  of  various  courts  during  the  reigns  of  Edward  III. 
and  Richard  II.  yield  evidence  of  the  nature  of  vert  and 
venison  attachments  ;  among  the  former  were  many  cases  of 
damage  to  hornbeam  trees. 

At  a  woodmote  for  Duffield  Forest  held  in  1376-7,  the 
foresters  presented  Ralph  Gregory  for  having  killed  a  doe  in 
Postern  park  on  Monday  after  the  Feast  of  All  Saints,  and  also 
a  doe  in  the  park  of  Shottle  in  the  month  of  September  ;  he 
was  committed  to  Tutbury. 

Many  interesting  items  could  also  be  gleaned  from  the  full 
duchy  accounts  that  are  extant  for  1377-8  and  later  years  of 
that  century,  but  space  forbids  making  even  the  briefest  ex- 

The  registers  of  John,  Duke  of  Lancaster,  covering  the  close 
of  the  reign  of  Edward  III.  and  the  beginning  of  that  of 
Richard  II.,  contain  various  references  to  Duffield  Frith, 
which  have  to  be  omitted  for  a  like  reason. 

There  was  a  serious  charge  of  venison  trespass  at  a  wood- 
mote  held  at  "  Le  Cowhouse,"  Postern,  on  2ist  July,  1395. 
This  woodmote  resulted  in  a  jury  inquisition.  John  de  Brad- 
shaw,  chief  forester,  and  Henry  de  Bradburne,  and  ten  others 
swore  that  Thomas  de  Statham  and  John  Helot  took  a  fat 
buck  (damnum  de  grace}  in  Colebrook  ward  with  greyhounds 
on  1 5th  September;  that  the  same  two,  with  others  unknown, 
killed  three  bucks  and  a  sore  in  Milnhay  in  the  same  ward  on 
2ist  September  ;  and  further,  that  the  same  Thomas  and  John 
killed  diverse  bucks  in  the  water  in  Colebrook  ward.  There 
was  another  venison  presentment  against  Thomas  Jackson  and 
five  others  for  having  hunted  with  greyhounds  in  Hulland 


ward.  Such  offenders  as  these  would  be  committed  to  prison, 
but  released  on  bail,  under  a  pledge  of  appearing  at  the  next 
forest  pleas  held  at  Tutbury.  At  the  same  mote,  Goditha  de 
Statham,  lady  of  Morley,  the  mother  of  Thomas  Statham,  the 
poacher,  was  presented  for  having  five  mares  in  the  park  of 

Henry  Duke  of  Lancaster,  son  of  John  of  Gaunt,  when  he 
came  to  the  throne  in  1399,  brought  Duffield  Forest  and  the 
rest  of  the  duchy  into  immediate  relationship  with  the  Crown. 
In  September,  1405,  the  king  (Henry  IV.)  ordered  the  chief 
forester  to  supply  twelve  timber  oaks  towards  the  repair  of 
Duffield  church. 

Henry  V.,  almost  immediately  on  his  coming  to  the  throne 
in  1413,  made  a  complete  change  in  the  personnel  of  the  chief 
officials  of  this  forest.  Sir  Philip  Leche  was  appointed  master 
forester,  and  the  following  minor  appointments  were  also  made 
to  all  of  which  certain  fees  or  perquisites  pertained  : — 

John  Bradshaw,  parker  of  Shottle. 
Henry  Bradshaw,       ,,         Postern. 
Thomas  Bradfield,      ,,         Ravensdale. 
Richard  Baldere,         ,,         Mansell. 
John  Gedling1,  ,,         Belper. 

Richard  Packer,          ,,         Morley. 
Thomas  Waterhouse,  forester  of  Colebrook. 
Richard  Pilkston,  ,,          Hulland. 

Nicholas  Adderley,  ,,          Belper. 

The  accounts  of  the  manors  in  the  forest  and  purlieus  of 
Duffield  Frith  for  1417  mention  for  the  first  time  stipends  for 
the  reeves.  The  annual  stipend  of  the  reeve  and  "  halswayne  " 
of  Duffield  was  us.  ;  those  of  Belper,  Alderwasley  and  Wirks- 
worth,  5,r.  ;  Holbrook  and  Heage,  2s.  ;  and  Hulland,  Biggin 
and  Ideridgehay,  2od. 

Among  the  Harley  MSS.  of  the  British  Museum  (568,  5138) 
are  two  transcripts  of  the  customary  of  the  honor  of  Tutbury, 
including  Duffield  Frith  and  the  High  Peak,  with  elaborate 
accounts  of  the  duties  and  authorities  of  the  different  officers. 
This  customary,  which  dates  from  the  end  of  Henry  V.  or 
beginning  of  Henry  VI.,  is  chiefly  concerned  with  Tutbury 
and  Medwood  forests.  Several  of  the  portions  that  specially 


relate  to  Duffield  Frith  have  been  cited  in  the  introductory 
chapters,  and  most  of  them  have  been  printed  in  volume  xv.  of 
the  Derbyshire  Archaeological  Society's  journal. 

A  woodmote  was  held  at  Belper  on  i4th  May,  1466.  In 
addition  to  a  variety  of  2d.  fines  for  small  vert  offences,  several 
of  the  tenants  in  Hulland  ward  were  fined  a  similar  sum  for 
not  repairing  the  border  fences  according  to  their  tenure.  The 
parkers  of  Ravensdale  and  Mansell,  as  well  as  Postern,  had 
nothing  to  present.  The  foresters  of  Chevin  ward  (an  alms 
for  Duffield  ward)  presented  Ralph  Sacheverell,  lately  of 
Snitterton,  who  came  into  the  ward  on  6th  March,  and  without 
any  licence  cut  down  six  oaks  called  "spyres"  for  repair  of  two 
houses.  Various  other  inquiries  were  presented  at  this  court. 
John  Kniveton,  of  Mercaston,  killed  a  fawn  without  warrant  in 
Shottle  park  ;  and  in  the  same  park  William  Cook,  of  Bradley, 
John  Vernon,  of  Haddon,  and  John  Bradburne,  of  Heage, 
each  killed  a  doe,  and  three  others  a  fawn.  In  Morley  park 
John  Fynedun  (also  an  armiger]  killed  a  doe.  Thomas  Gresley, 
who  was  deputy  lieutenant  of  Duffield  Frith,  presented  William, 
son  of  the  vicar  of  Wirksworth,  and  two  others  for  entering  the 
forest  on  several  occasions  with  four  greyhounds. 

At  another  woodmote  held  later  in  the  same  year  at  Ravens- 
dale,  the  foresters  of  Belper  presented  that  Thomas  Gresley, 
late  deputy  lieutenant  of  the  chase,  on  Thursday  before  the 
Feast  of  St.  Thomas  the  Martyr,  had  killed  a  buck  without 
warrant,  also  that  in  Whitsun  week  he  had  killed  another  buck, 
and  that  William  Troutbek  had  committed  the  like  trespass. 
The  keeper  of  Morley  park  charged  Thomas  Gresley  with 
a  like  offence  in  that  enclosure.  At  the  same  court  Roger 
Vernon  was  presented  for  having  sent  Nicholas  Bromhall,  of 
Alderwasley,  to  Shining  Cliff  within  the  forest  to  cut  down  eight 
oaks  called  "spyres." 

The  explanation  of  these  outbreaks  on  the  part  of  the  county 
gentlemen  is  not  far  to  seek,  and  they  were  common  at  this 
period  throughout  the  forests  of  England.  It  was  in  the  midst 
of  the  Wars  of  the  Roses.  Advantage  was  taken  of  this  period 
of  civil  commotion  ;  those  who  favoured  York  or  Lancaster,  as 
the  case  might  be,  seem  to  have  readily  persuaded  themselves 
that  they  were  entitled  to  make  a  raid  on  the  forests  of  the  one 
or  the  other  whom  they  chose  to  regard  as  a  pseudo-king. 


At  a  woodmote  held  at  Belper  on  23rd  April,  1472,  John 
Harly,  of  Crich,  yeoman,  and  two  others  were  charged  with 
having  broken  into  Shottle  Park  in  Easter  week,  and  hunted 
with  greyhounds,  though  they  killed  nothing.  There  were 
various  fines  for  vert  trespasses  in  Milnhay,  Belper  ward,  and 
Hulland  ward,  the  total  amounting  to  14^.  4^.  In  February, 
1480,  there  was  a  sale  of  all  the  birches  with  their  loppings, 
and  the  underwood  of  Ladyshaw  Wood. 

Robert  Bradshaw  was  the  reeve  of  Duffield  in  1482,  with  a 
stipend  of  us.  He  is  described  as  reeve  voc'  haselswayne. 
William  Assheton,  who  was  reeve  of  both  Belper  and  Heage, 
received  5^.  from  each  township.  John  Egginton,  reeve  of 
Holbrook,  also  received  $s.  In  the  forest  ward  returns  of  this 
year  there  is  reference  to  the  making  of  charcoal  in  Morley 

The  records  are  preserved  of  several  appointments  of  officials 
of  this  forest  during  the  reign  of  Henry  VII.  In  1485  Ralph 
Langford  had  the  comprehensive  appointments  bestowed  on 
him  of  lieutenant  of  Duffield  Frith  and  steward  of  the  same 
and  parker  of  all  the  parks  ;  but  about  a  month  later  Nicholas 
Kniveton  was  made  parker  of  Ravensdale.  Richard  Salford 
was  made  parker  of  Belper,  and  Sir  Charles  Somerset  "Cap- 
tain of  our  guard,"  parker  of  Postern  in  1487.  In  1491 
Nicholas  Kniveton  became  parker  of  Shottle,  and  in  1493 
Humphrey  Bradburne  became  parker  of  Mansell.  In  1503 
Roger  Vernon  was  appointed  to  the  custody  of  Shottle  park. 
In  1504,  on  the  death  of  John  Stafford,  Thomas  Day,  "a  valet 
of  our  chamber,"  was  made  custodian  of  Morley  park. 

There  are  interesting  full  returns  as  to  the  venison  of 
Duffield  Frith,  killed  both  legitimately  and  illegitimately,  for 
the  year  1498,  as  presented  at  a  woodmote  held  at  Cowhouse. 
Shottle  park :  A  doe  was  killed  on  the  Sunday  after  St. 
Barnabas'  Day  in  the  Blackbrook,  and  carried  out  of  the  pale 
and  stolen,  but  the  offender  was  unknown.  About  the  same 
time  a  doe  was  killed  and  afterwards  taken  to  Thomas  Parker's 
house.  Roger  Vernon  had  a  buck  from  the  keeper.  The 
Earl  of  Shrewsbury  killed  a  buck,  eleven  sores,  and  a  sorell, 
and  gave  them  to  Sir  Harry  Willoughby  and  other  squires 
and  gentlemen  that  were  with  him.  The  following  were  the 
deer  given  either  by  special  warrant  or  by  the  earl  or  keeper  : 


Anthony  Babington  and  Henry  Sacheverell,  each  a  sore ; 
Thomas  Talbot,  a  sore  and  a  doe  ;  Nicholas  Shirley,  a  sore  ; 
Godfrey  Foljambe,  Thomas  Leghe,  Master  Elton,  William 
Sacheverell,  Edward  Savage,  Master  Stokes,  Thomas  Moly- 
neux,  William  Gresley,  the  Abbot  of  Dale,  and  John  Alsop 
had  each  a  buck.  The  keeper  himself  had  4  bucks  and  a  sore. 
Also  the  bailiff  of  Derby  and  others  of  the  same  town  had  a 
buck  on  the  Monday  after  St.  Giles'  Day.  Murrain  killed  23 
"deer  of  auntelers,"  16  prickets  and  does,  and  32  fawns. 
Mansellpark:  Sir  Ralph  Longford  and  Sir  Henry  Willoughby 
had  each  a  buck  ;  John  Montgomery,  John  Fitzherbert,  and 
John  Ireton  had  each  a  sore,  and  Roger  Vernon  a  buck  and  a 
doe.  A  buck,  a  sorell,  4  does,  and  5  fawns  died  of  murrain. 
Postern  park:  The  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  Lady  Hastings,  John 
Dettrick,  Ralph  Illingworth,  Godfrey  Foljambe,  Roger  Vernon, 
Humphrey  Bradburne,  and  Sir  Henry  Willoughby  had  each 
a  buck.  Nicholas  Kniveton  the  younger  and  Humphrey 
Bradburne  killed  a  sore  by  their  own  authority.  The  keeper 
had  a  sore.  "The  patent  man  had  a  soure  for  his  sute."  A 
sorell  was  stolen,  by  whom  unknown.  Master  Talbot,  a  buck 
by  his  own  authority.  Sir  Ralph  Longford,  Sir  Thomas 
Gresley,  and  Sir  John  Montgomery  killed  2  bucks  and  a  doe 
by  their  own  authority.  "A  chaunce  buk  ley  out  and  was 
hurt  in  the  bak  and  giffen  to  John  Agard  ;  a  buk  was  hurt  on 
our  Ladys  own  Assumcion  and  was  found  dead  and  was  lost." 
Three  bucks,  a  sore,  3  sorells,  7  does,  and  12  fawns  died  of 
murrain.  The  Lady  park  of  Belper :  The  auditor,  a  doe  and 
a  fawn.  William  Pope,  a  doe.  The  murrain  killed  a  buck 
and  two  does.  Morley  park :  Sir  Henry  Willoughby,  a 
buck.  Master  Pole  and  his  daughter,  a  sore.  Master  Osmond 
killed  a  pricket.  Thomas  Borow,  gentleman,  killed  a  pricket 
by  warrant  of  Sir  Ralph  Longford.  The  keeper  had  a  sore 
and  also  "a  chaunce  stag."  "Nicholas  Kniveton  and  Roger 
Vernon  came  into  Morley  parke  and  hunted  by  there  own 
auctorite  and  kylled  no  thyng.  Item  the  seid  Nicholas  brak 
the  pale  another  tyme  as  he  went  to  Butterly."  A  doe  died  of 
the  murrain.  Hulland  Ward\  Nicholas  Kniveton  the  elder 
and  Humphrey  Bradburne  killed  a  buck  "for  there  sute." 
Nicholas  Kniveton  the  younger,  Humphrey  Bradburne,  and 
Roger  Vernon  killed  a  buck  by  their  own  authority.  "Then 


the  said  Nicholas  Kniveton  the  younger  caused  a  buk  to  be 
smytten,  which  Robert  Bradshaw  sonnes  received."  Ravens- 
dale  park :  The  Earl  of  Shrewsbury  killed  a  buck.  Sir 
Henry  Willoughby  and  the  Commission  had  each  a  buck. 
Sir  Ralph  Longford  and  Roger  Vernon  each  two  bucks.  A 
chance  buck  and  two  chance  does  were  disposed  of  by  the 

By  the  time  that  great  sportsman  Henry  VIII.  came  to 
the  throne,  the  stock  of  fallow  deer  had  materially  decreased 
throughout  this  forest,  and  the  disafforesting  of  most  of 
Colebrook  ward,  through  the  king  granting  so  large  a  part 
of  it  to  Anthony  Lowe,  deprived  the  forest  deer  of  much 
of  their  wildest  runs.  Nevertheless,  they  must  have  been 
fairly  abundant  in  parts  as  late  as  1541,  for  the  Earl  of  Shews- 
bury,  the  chief  forester,  wrote  to  the  Earl  of  Southampton 
on  6th  July  hoping  that  the  king,  at  his  coming  to  Notting- 
ham, would  visit  his  poor  house  at  Wingfield  and  hunt  in 
Duffield  Frith  ;  but  before  the  end  of  the  month  the  earl  was 

In  1521  there  must  have  been  deer  in  the  parks  of  Ravens- 
dale  and  Mansell  and  generally  throughout  Hulland  ward,  for 
15-r.  was  spent  in  those  divisions  in  providing  winter  deer- 

The  king,  in  1523,  granted  to  Anthony  Lowe,  who  was 
forester- in -fee  of  Duffield  Frith  and  keeper  of  Milnhay,  to 
occupy  those  offices  without  rendering  any  account  or  paying, 
as  his  father  Thomas  Lowe  did,  at  ,£3  1 1 s.  a  year  for  the 
exercise  of  those  offices  ;  a  watermill  and  200  acres  of  land  in 
Alderwasley  were  conferred  on  Anthony  by  the  same  patent. 

There  are  many  appointments  to  patent  offices  in  this  forest 
entered  throughout  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.,  such  as  John 
Bradshaw,  keeper  of  Postern  park  ;  Thomas  Doughty,  keeper 
of  Morley  park  ;  and  Thomas  Oakemanton,  keeper  of  Ravens- 
dale  park  in  1510. 

Various  forest  appointments  were  also  made  by  the  Crown 
in  the  reign  of  Edward  VI.,  such  as  Sir  Thomas  Cokayne, 
parker  of  Ravensdale,  in  June,  1553. 

The  leases  of  the  parks  of  Shottle  and  Postern,  including 
rights  over  the  deer,  show  how  steadily  the  old  forest  customs 
were  deteriorating.  At  the  beginning  of  Elizabeth's  reign  the 


question  was  raised  whether  such  leases  were  not  equivalent 
to  disafforesting. 

In  Michaelmas  term,  1559,  Thomas  Wynston,  Esquire,  of 
Windley  Hill — claiming  the  two  parks  of  Shottle  and  Postern, 
within  Duffield  Frith,  by  a  forty  years'  lease  from  Philip  and 
Mary,  at  a  rental  of  £86,  and,  for  a  further  sum  of  £43  12^., 
full  licence  to  take  and  use  the  deer  within  the  two  parks  at 
his  will  and  pleasure  —  complained  that  Sir  John  Byron, 
Francis  Curson,  Esquire,  Edmund  Tetlowe,  and  Richard 
Kaye  last  May  entered  the  parks,  killed  many  of  the  deer, 
carried  away  1,000  loads  of  underwood,  and  continued  to  occupy 
and  hold  the  parks,  and  thus  hindered  the  complainant  in  paying 
his  rent  to  the  duchy. 

There  is  no  extant  reply  to  this  complaint,  but  in  the  follow- 
ing year  the  question  was  again  raised  on  another  charge. 

In  1560  Thomas  Wynston,  of  Windley  Hill,  complained 
to  the  chancellor  (Sir  Ambrose  Cave)  that  he  held  a  lease 
on  yearly  payment  of  £86  from  Philip  and  Mary  of  Shottle 
park,  within  Duffield  Frith,  which  was  a  paled  enclosure 
beyond  man's  memory,  and  within  which  there  was  "free 
warren  of  dere  and  other  game  of  venerie,"  but  that  John 
Wigley,  yeoman  of  Wirksworth,  on  3rd  January,  "  entered 
into  the  said  parke  and  there  hunted  without  lycence  and 
kylled  there  certin  dere  as  well  as  of  season  as  note  of  season, 
and  the  same  trespas  hath  combyned  by  the  space  of  sundrie 
dayes  and  after  to  the  utter  destruction  of  the  dere  and  game 
to  the  disinheritance  of  the  Quene  .  .  .  and  to  the  damages 
of  the  said  Informer  one  hundred  poundes."  To  this  bill 
John  Wigley  made  answer  that  the  letters  patent  of  Philip 
and  Mary  granting  the  deer  of  Shottle  park  to  the  com- 
plainant had  caused  the  enclosure  to  be  disparked,  and  that 
the  defendant  "  claiminge  to  come  by  the  said  parke  havinge 
a  brace  of  greyhounds  with  hym,  the  same  greyhoundes  dyd 
verie  soddenly  breake  from  hym,  and  havinge  a  deere  in  the 
winde  came  at  the  said  deer  and  kylled  it "  ;  that  he  never 
hunted  there  again,  and  that,  knowing  that  the  complainant 
was  killing  off  the  deer  and  disposing  of  them,  was  not  aware 
that  he  had  committed  any  offence  against  the  laws  of  the 

In   the   following    year    the   Crown   confirmed   to   Thomas 


Wynston  the  grant  made  by  Philip  and  Mary  in  these  two 
parks  of  timber  sufficient  for  the  repair  of  houses,  lodges, 
hedges,  and  all  manner  of  farm  gear,  as  well  as  for  fuel. 

An  elaborate  survey  of  this  forest,  giving  the  exact  number 
of  the  trees  and  the  condition  of  the  undergrowth  in  each 
ward  and  park,  was  drawn  up  in  1560.  There  is  no  other 
known  forest  return  of  the  sixteenth  century  which  gives 
nearly  such  full  details.  It  was  printed  in  full,  with  other 
later  surveys,  in  the  Derbyshire  Archaeological  Society's 
journal  for  1903.  The  large  trees  were  entirely  oak.  There 
is  not  a  single  mention  of  an  elm.  The  underwood  included 
white  and  black  thorn,  hazel,  holly,  maple,  crab-tree,  and 
alder,  as  well  as  abundance  of  birch  wood  in  Belper  ward. 
The  totals  work  out  to  the  large  amount  of  111,968  trees,  of 
which  59,412  were  large  oaks,  32,820  small  oaks,  and  19,736 
oaks  in  more  or  less  state  of  decay — "  dottard  oaks,"  and  only 
suitable  for  fuel. 

The  destruction  of  timber  throughout  Duffield  Forest  was 
excessive  during  the  whole  of  Elizabeth's  reign.  The  contrast 
between  this  survey  of  1560  and  another  that  was  taken  in  1587 
is  most  extraordinary.  There  were  at  the  latter  date  only 
2,764  large  oaks  and  3,032  small  oaks;  they  are  set  forth  in 
detail  with  their  estimated  worth.  The  total  value  of  the 
whole  wood  was  somewhat  under  £2,000. 

The  commissions  relative  to  this  forest  during  Elizabeth's 
reign  were  frequent.  In  1581  Edward  Stanhope,  William 
Agard,  and  Simon  Arden  were  commissioned  to  view  and 
report  on  Duffield  Frith.  They  called  before  them  the  wood- 
wards and  collectors  of  the  three  wards  (for  Colebrook  ward 
had  now  disappeared  through  the  appropriation  of  the  Lowe 
family,  and  Shottle  park  was  wholly  in  Duffield  ward),  as  well 
as  divers  of  the  tenants  and  freeholders,  and  by  their  informa- 
tion and  their  own  perambulations  arrived  at  the  following 
conclusions : — That  there  is  a  woodward  and  collector  or 
forester-in-fee  of  each  ward;  that  these  wards  were  "till  of 
late  years  replenished  with  game  and  fallow  deare,  and  had 
divers  other  officers  and  ministers  of  chase  as  foresters-in-fee, 
bow-bearers,  and  such  like  "  ;  that  as  "  the  said  game  is  utterlie 
destroyed  '  they  did  not  call  for  sight  of  such  grants  ;  that  in 
Hulland  there  is  a  great  deal  of  plain  ground  as  well  as 


of  woody  and  bushy  ground  ;  that  in  Duffield  there  is  much 
plain  ground  and  also  a  great  deal  of  thin  set  wood  ground  by 
name  of  Chevin  ;  that  in  Helper  there  is  much  plain  ground 
and  a  good  deal  of  wood  soil  chiefly  set  with  birch  under- 
wood ;  that  the  tenants  of  the  frith  and  the  copyholders 
bordering  on  the  same  have  every  third  year  reasonable  hedge- 
bote  out  of  the  woods  to  hedge  their  common  cornfields,  and 
in  winter  to  lop  hollies  and  other  undergrowth  for  relief  of 
the  queen's  game  when  there  were  deer,  and  for  their  own 
cattle  and  sheep  ;  that  all  borderers  and  strangers  taking  away 
any  fuel,  wood  or  browse  (other  than  what  may  be  sold  by  the 
collectors)  are  amerced  at  the  woodmote  courts  ;  that  all  the 
alders  throughout  the  wards  had  been  lately  felled  and  sold 
for  Her  Majesty's  use  ;  that  all  tenants  of  Duffield,  Belper, 
Makeney,  Hazelwood,  Windley,  Turnditch,  Holbrook,  Hul- 
land,  Ideridghay,  Biggin,  Ireton  Wood,  and  Heage,  and 
other  houses  in  the  precincts  of  the  frith  claim  and  use  common 
of  sheep  and  cattle  ;  that  small  benefit  would  accrue  to  the 
Crown  from  the  encopsing  of  the  woods,  and  that  it  would  be 
prejudicial  to  the  tenants,  who  are  mainly  poor  and  dependent 
on  the  relief  of  pasturage  in  the  frith  ;  that  the  underwood 
might  with  advantage  be  divided  into  ten  parts  or  "hagges," 
and  let  on  lease,  selling  every  year  one  part ;  that  the  aptest 
places  for  setting  up  "any  bloweng  mill  for  the  melting  of 
lead  ower  (the  same  intended  to  be  a  water  mill)"  is  in  the  Hul- 
land  ward  at  a  little  brook  called  Hulland  brook,  and  in 
Chevin  or  Duffield  ward  at  Blackbrook,  "  so  that  there  may  be 
one  small  overshot  mill  at  cache  of  them,  and  will  have  water 
to  furnish  worke  one  day  at  thone  and  an  other  day  at  the 
other,  onles  it  be  in  the  drowght  of  somer  "  ;  that  near  Hulland 
brook  are  "  one  or  two  great  and  auncient  heapes  of  Iron  slag 
or  cinders  whereby  it  should  seem  there  hathe  ben  some 
water  worke  there  for  melting  of  Iron  stone "  ;  and  that  the 
same  preferment  for  lead  ore  should  be  charged  in  the  manors 
of  the  frith  as  in  the  Wapentake  of  Wirksworth,  namely,  a 
halfpenny  for  every  load  of  ore,  twelve  loads  commonly 
making  a  fother  of  lead. 

In  1587  the  inhabitants  and  borderers  of  Duffield  Frith, 
numbering  509  copyholders,  freeholders,  and  ancient  cot- 
tagers and  householders  (forming  a  population  of  1,800  with 


their  wives  and  children)  petitioned  the  queen  not  to  carry  out 
the  project  of  leasing  the  underwood,  as  they  had  from  time 
beyond  memory  been  accustomed  to  crop  and  browse  of  these 
woods  from  Martinmas  to  the  end  of  February  for  their  cattle 
whenever  the  weather  was  severe,  paying  a  price  for  the  same 
at  the  end  of  the  winter.  If  the  leasing  was  carried  out,  they 
considered  they  would  be  debarred  from  this,  as  well  as  from 
their  customary  rights  of  fuel  wood,  and  wood  for  the  repairs 
of  their  houses  and  hedges,  and  that  they  would  "  be  utterly 
impoverished  thereby  and  constrayned  to  seek  dwellings  other 
where."  This  petition  was  presented  in  September,  1587, 
and  in  June,  1588,  Edward  Stanhope  was  appointed  by  the 
Council  of  the  duchy  to  enter  into  the  grievances  of  these 
tenants.  On  5th  July  he  met  seven  representatives  of  the 
tenants  at  Nottingham,  but  after  several  adjournments  they 
were  able  to  come  to  no  satisfactory  compromise. 

In  1592  another  commission  was  appointed  to  secure  true 
measurements  of  the  "  woodgrounds  "  of  the  frith,  but  after 
thrice  meeting  the  commissioners,  the  local  jury  declared 
that  it  was  impossible  to  execute  such  a  task,  giving  their 
reasons  at  length,  which  were  chiefly  because  of  the  various 
barren  and  stony  places  with  which  the  woodlands  were 

The  woodmote  courts  continued  to  be  held  and  were  busily 
engaged  in  fining  vert  trespassers.  At  the  court  held  at  Cow- 
house Lane  in  July,  1593,  fifteen  offenders  who  had  carried  off 
green  wood  in  Duffield  ward  were  fined  in  sums  varying  from 
$d.  to  6d.,  thirty-nine  in  Belper  ward,  and  sixty-four  in 
Hulland  ward.  The  fines  amounted  to  35^.  ;  a  pannage 
court  was  held  the  same  day,  when  a  penny  each  was  received 
for  109  pigs. 

At  a  woodmote  held  at  Hulland  on  2ist  September,  1597, 
the  only  business  transacted  was  the  imposing  two  fines  of  2s. 
each  for  cutting  down  trees.  At  the  woodmote  held  at  Chevin 
House,  on  nth  August,  1598,  many  vert  trespassers  were  pre- 
sented. In  the  Belper  ward  one  offender  was  charged  with 
removing  so  many  "  bigis  Anglia  sleydfulls "  of  wood.  In 
other  returns  of  this  reign  the  taking  of  sledges  and  drags  of 
woods  are  mentioned.  Thomas  Sympson  incurred  the  heavy 
fine  of  3-r.  4^.  for  cutting  various  birches. 


On  i  gth  December,  1598,  another  court  was  held  at  Chevin 
House,  before  Anthony  Bradshaw,  as  deputy  steward ;  the 
foresters  who  appeared  were  John  Curzon,  William  Kniveton, 
and  William  Bradburne,  esquires,  and  John  Brockshaw, 
gentleman.  The  names  of  agisters,  parkers,  and  ward  col- 
tectors  are  also  set  forth.  Henry  Butler  held  the  joint 
sinecure  offices  of  bow-bearer  and  axe-bearer,  while  Richard 
Clark  was  the  ranger.  A  large  number  of  vert  trespassers 
were  fined,  chiefly  in  sums  of  4^.  and  6d.  ;  in  various  cases  the 
offenders  are  described  as  taking  of  horseloads,  sleighloads,  or 
les  backburdens  ligni. 

At  a  woodmote  held  at  Chevin  House,  on  nth  March,  1600, 
by  Anthony  Bradshaw  as  deputy  steward,  John  Curzon  was 
present  both  as  lieutenant  and  forester,  and  the  other  foresters 
were  Sir  Humphrey  Ferrers,  William  Kniveton,  and  John 
Brockshaw.  Thomas  Johnson,  the  keeper  of  the  two  parks  of 
Manshull  and  Ravensdale  was  fined  2s.  for  absence,  and  the 
parker  of  Morley  is.  for  a  like  offence.  No  fewer  than  123 
vert  trespassers  were  fined,  in  sums  varying  from  2.d.  to  \2.d. 
"  Waynelodes"  are  mentioned  among  the  amounts  of  wood 

At  the  next  court,  held  on  8th  July,  two  trees  were 
assigned  to  the  town  of  Duffield  towards  the  repair  of  their 
bridge.  Among  the  fines  is  the  very  heavy  one  of  los.  which 
had  to  be  paid  by  Richard  Feme,  for  he  not  only  cut  two  cart- 
loads of  green  wood,  but  sold  them  at  Derby. 

Anthony  Bradshaw,  fourth  son  of  William  Bradshaw,  of 
Bradshaw,  the  deputy  steward  of  the  forest,  who  did  so  much 
to  sustain  the  privileges  of  the  tenants  of  Duffield  Frith,  re- 
sided at  Farley  Hall.  He  was  a  man  of  some  literary  power, 
and  wrote  a  long  curious  poem  of  fifty-four  stanzas,  early  in 
the  reign  of  James  I.,  entitled  "A  Frend's  due  Commendacion 
of  Duffeld  Frith."  It  is  printed  in  vol.  xxiii.  of  the  Reliquary. 
He  mentions  therein  the  Earl  of  Shrewsbury  as  high  steward 
and  John  Curzon  as  lieutenant.  The  six  parks  of  Morley, 
Belper,  Postern,  Shottle,  Ravensdale,  and  Mansell  are  all 
named,  but  they  were  all  farmed  "andyeald  nodeareatall,"  save 
Mansell,  and  that  "  verie  small."  From  these  rhymes  we  learn 
that  "Tacke  courtes  "  were  held  in  addition  to  the  woodmote, 
"at  Luke's  day  and  Martinmas,"  and  the  tack  dinner,  when 


each  man  had  a  hen  in  his  pie,  mentioned  in  the  old  customary, 
was  still  maintained. 

At  a  woodmote  held  by  Anthony  Bradshaw,  in  1604,  there 
were  nine  cases  of  fines  of  i2d.  each  for  beating  down  and 
collecting  acorns  ;  for  taking  a  cartload  de  le  Oiler  (alder)  wood, 
a  man  was  fined  6d.,  and  the  like  fine  was  imposed  for  taking  a 
load  of  tynsell  wood,  or  oven  fuel;  whilst  I2d.  was  paid  for 
removing  a  load  of  le  Oiler  poles. 

At  the  court  held  at  Chevinsyde,  on  July,  1605,  Sir  Edward 
Cokayne,  keeper  of  Mansell  park,  appeared  through  William 
Jesson,  his  deputy.  Henry  Butler,  bow-bearer  and  axe-bearer 
did  not  appear,  and  pleaded  that  he  ought  not  to  be  called  to 
"wood  pryses."  Forty-five  transgressors  were  fined  on  this 
occasion.  The  ranger  received  a  perquisite  of  wood  for  pro- 
viding dinner  Tor  the  officers  of  the  court.  This  is  the  latest 
date  at  which  we  have  found  direct  evidence  of  the  presence 
of  deer  in  the  forest.  William  Jesson,  as  deputy  of  Sir 
Edward  Cokayne,  swore  that  there  then  remained  seventy-six 
deer  in  Mansell  park,  and  that  four  or  five  had  died  in  the  last 

As  matters  ripened  in  Derbyshire  against  the  arbitrary  actions 
of  Charles  I.  and  his  advisers,  the  Crown  claims  over  the 
district  of  Duffield  forest,  more  particularly  in  the  old  ward 
of  Colebrook,  were  more  resisted  and  became  more  difficult  to 
establish.  A  singular  agreement  was  come  to  between  the 
duchy  and  one  Richard  Neville  to  the  effect  that  he  should 
have  such  land  as  by  prosecution  he  could  recover  for  the 
Crown  in  Uttoxeter  ward,  Needwood  forest,  and  in  Cole- 
brook  ward,  Duffield  forest,  at  a  rental  of  izd.  per  acre. 
Neville  succeeded  in  recovering  much  land  in  and  around 
Colebrook  ward  for  the  crown  as  part  of  the  old  royal  frith 
of  Duffield.  He  was,  however,  not  only  put  to  heavy  legal 
costs,  but  his  attempts  to  inclose  were  naturally  resisted,  lead- 
ing to  many  riots  and  disorders.  In  December,  1639,  Neville 
petitioned  the  crown  for  an  abatement  of  the  covenanted  rent, 
as  he  not  only  found  much  of  the  land  barren,  but  he  was  still 
exposed  to  daily  damage  and  interruption. 

On  20th  February,  1640,  Richard  Neville,  described  as  a 
gentleman  of  the  bedchamber  to  the  prince,  obtained  a  formal 
grant  in  fee-farm  of  the  common  or  waste  called  "  Milshay  or 


Millmore,  or  Milshayward  de  Colebrookward,"  parcel  of 
Duffield  Frith,  and  other  lands  recovered  by  his  prosecutions, 
charged  with  a  rent  of  ^45  3-r.  per  annum  ;  but  at  the  same 
time  550  acres  of  Millhay  was  assigned  to  Edward  Potterell 
and  others  as  trustees  for  the  commoners  and  tenants  of  Alder- 
wasley  and  Ashleyhay  at  a  rent  of  2^.  per  annum.  Probably 
the  Crown,  in  accordance  with  the  usual  disafforesting  arrange- 
ments of  this  reign,  took  one-third  of  the  common,  the  other 
two-thirds  being  reserved  for  the  commoners. 

The  statements  appended  to  a  Parliamentary  Survey  of  this 
forest  give  a  clear  insight  into  the  action  of  the  Crown  as  to 
the  commoners  during  this  reign. 

A  survey  of  the  "  Royaltye  of  the  late  disforrested  Forest  or 
Chase  called  Duffield  Frith  .  .  .  late  parcell  of  the  possessions 
of  Charles  Stuart  late  king  of  England  "  was  made  in  July, 
1650,  by  order  of  Parliament.  The  chief  rent  due  from  several 
adjacent  townships  for  liberty  of  commonage  amounted  to 
56^.  Afd.  ;  the  royalty,  including  waifs,  strays,  felons'  goods, 
hawking,  and  hunting,  40^.  ;  of  cottages  on  encroachments, 
,£24  13.?.  zd.  ;  and  "the  mines  delfes  or  pitts  of  coale  now 
in  use  or  hereafter  to  be  digged  .  .  .  with  liberty  of  ruckeing 
and  stackeing  of  such  coales  .  .  .  and  of  erecting  of  cottages 
for  the  habitacion  of  collyers  with  free  passage  for  horses, 
carts,  and  carriages  passing  to  and  from  the  said  coale  delfes," 
^"30.  The  commissioners  let  the  benefits  of  the  royalties  and 
of  the  coal  for  a  year  to  John  Mundy,  of  Allestree,  and  Thomas 
Newton,  of  Duffield. 

The  report  cites  the  grant  of  4th  September,  1634,  when  a 
third  part  of  Belper  ward,  561  acres,  assigned  to  the  king  by 
the  Council  of  the  duchy  in  the  previous  year,  was  transferred 
to  Sir  Edward  Sydenham  at  a  yearly  rent  of  2is.  8d.  At  the 
same  time  it  was  proposed  to  assign  to  the  king  a  third  part 
of  Chevin  ward,  to  be  chosen  by  lot,  the  remaining  two-thirds 
to  be  granted  to  the  commoners  at  2s.  per  acre  for  all  they 
enclosed,  being  discharged  of  their  old  rent  of  $6s.  4^.  ;  but 
only  thirty-one  commoners  agreed  to  this  proposal,  upwards 
of  four  hundred  being  opposed  to  it.  Nevertheless,  a  decree 
was  passed  for  a  division  in  the  duchy  chamber,  and  the 
king's  commissioners  took  what  part  they  liked  best  without 
any  casting  of  lots,  taking  in  all  the  places  "where  the  Coale 


Delfes  are  now  sunke."  In  September,  1634,  tne  king  granted 
this  third  part  of  Chevin  ward  to  Sir  Edward  Sydenham,  and 
it  was  enclosed;  and  "the  inhabitants  were  compelled  by  force 
and  terror  to  submite  thereunto."  Nor  were  the  other  two 
parts  ever  granted  to  the  commoners  in  fee-farm,  although 
enclosed,  nor  were  any  admitted  tenants  of  this  enclosed 
ground,  save  the  small  minority  who  had  agreed  to  the  en- 
closure. Thereupon,  in  1643,  the  inhabitants  threw  open  all 
the  enclosures  of  this  ward,  including  the  king's  third  part,  and 
since  enjoyed  it  all  in  common.  "  Had  not  the  distraction  by 
the  late  Warres  prevented  them,  they  had  all  joyned  in  a  Bill 
of  Reveiwe  to  reverse  the  Decree  made  upon  soe  slender 
grounds  and  soe  illegally  without  theire  consent."  The  com- 
missioners stated  that  they  had  had  all  this  testified  to  them  by 
a  jury  consisting  of  "  men  of  qualitye  and  sufficient  abilityes 
in  those  partes  and  neighbours  to  the  place"  ;  that  they  were 
convinced  that,  though  a  few  private  persons  had  been  gainers 
by  the  enclosure,  a  far  more  considerable  number  had  been 
"  damnifyed  thereby"  ;  and  that  therefore  they  considered  the 
ward  to  be  rightly  common. 

The  affairs  of  most  of  Colebrook  ward  were  settled,  as  we 
have  seen,  in  1639-40.  Hulland  ward  was  divided  at  the  same 
time  as  Belper  ward,  in  1633-4,  the  king's  third,  consisting 
of  490  acres  valued  at  9^.  zd.  a  year  being  granted  to  Sir 
Edward  Sydenham.  The  successful  opposition  to  enclosure 
only  prevailed  in  the  large  ward  of  Duffield  or  Chevin,  includ- 
ing Shottle  park. 

All  that  part  of  the  old  forest  that  was,  by  violent  means, 
thrown  open  to  the  commoners  in  1643  remained  common 
until  1786,  when  1,500  acres  were  enclosed  by  an  Act  of  26 
George  III. 


THE  old  ballads  of  Robin  Hood,  which  were  popular 
rhymes  as  early  as  the  middle  of  the  fourteenth  century, 
as  we  know  from  the  Vision  of  Piers  Ploughman,  have 
probably  been  the  chief  cause  of  the  undying  fame  of  Sherwood 
Forest.  But  these  pages  have  to  deal  with  historic  facts,  and 
not  with  traditions,  however  substantial  may  be  their  basis. 
The  fascinating  subject  of  outlaw  life  under  the  greenwood 
tree  of  this  celebrated  forest  must,  therefore,  be  passed  by  ; 
those  who  desire  to  know  all  that  can  be  known  of  Robin 
Hood  and  his  ballads  had  better  consult  the  five  scholarly 
volumes  of  Mr.  F.  J.  Child,  of  Boston,  Mass.,  published  in 
1882,  entitled  English  and  Scottish  Popular  Ballads.  The 
delightful  modern  ballads  of  the  Rev.  R.  H.  Whitworth,  who 
has  for  forty  years  resided,  as  vicar  of  Blidworth,  in  the  very 
centre  of  ancient  Sherwood,  are  saturated  with  the  true  forest 
spirit,  and  are  eminently  worthy  of  collective  publication. 

The  celebrated  forest  of  Sherwood  included  within  its  bounds 
most  of  the  central  part  of  the  county  of  Nottingham.  Its 
exact  bounds  were  laid  down  in  a  perambulation  of  1232. 
Roughly  speaking,  it  was  twenty-five  miles  one  way,  by  nine 
or  ten  the  other ;  at  one  extremity  was  the  county  town  of 
Nottingham,  and  at  another  was  Mansfield,  whilst  Worksop 
was  close  to  the  northern  boundary. 

Many  of  the  places  afterwards  within  the  forest  are  named  in 
the  Domesday  Survey  as  members  of  the  king's  great  manor  of 
Mansfield,  so  that  the  amount  of  royal  demesne  in  the  district 
made  its  conversion  by  the  early  Norman  kings  into  a  large 
forest  a  comparatively  easy  matter.  The  first  exact  notice 
of  the  forest  occurs  in  the  year  1154,  when  William  Peverel, 





the  younger,  answered  to  the  forest  pleas.  He  controlled  the 
forest,  and  held  the  profits  under  the  Crown.  On  the  for- 
feiture of  the  Peverel  estates  the  forest  lapsed  to  the  king,  and 
was  for  some  time  administered  by  the  sheriffs  for  the  joint 
counties  of  Derby  and  Nottingham. 

In  the  time  of  Richard  I.,  Matilda  de  Caux  and  her  husband 
Ralph  Fitz-Stephen,  were  confirmed  in  the  office  of  chief 
foresters  of  Sherwood.  Matilda  died  in  1223,  when  she  was 
succeeded  as  chief  forester-of-fee  by  her  son  John  de  Birkin, 
and  he  in  his  turn  by  his  son  Thomas  de  Birkin.  In  1231 
this  hereditary  office  came  to  Robert  de  Everingham  in 
right  of  his  wife  Isabel,  who  was  sister  of  Thomas  de  Birkin. 
Adam  de  Everingham  was  chief  forester  or  keeper  of  Sherwood 
at  the  beginning  of  the  reign  of  Edward  I.,  and  he  was 
succeeded  by  his  son  Robert  de  Everingham.  Soon  after 
this,  Robert  de  Everingham  incurred  the  king's  displeasure, 
and  this  office  was  seized  by  the  Crown  as  forfeited.  This 
Robert  de  Everingham,  who  was  keeper  in  1284,  was  the  last 
of  hereditary  descent.  The  office  was  afterwards  conferred  at 
will  by  the  Crown  upon  various  persons  of  high  position  as 
a  mark  of  royal  favour. 

From  the  Close  Rolls  of  1286,  it  would  appear  that  the  offence 
which  brought  about  the  downfall  of  the  last  hereditary  keeper 
of  this  forest  was  certain  grievous  abuse  of  his  position  as 
guardian  of  the  king's  deer.  In  November  of  that  month  the 
Crown  addressed  a  letter  to  the  deputy  of  the  forest  justice 
beyond  Trent  ordering  the  release  from  Nottingham  gaol  of 
Robert  de  Everingham,  John  de  Everingham,  John  the  Con- 
stable, and  eight  others,  imprisoned  for  trespass  of  venison  in 
Sherwood,  in  bail  to  twelve  men,  who  were  bound  to  produce 
them  at  the  next  eyre,  and  on  condition  that  they  would  not 
hereafter  incur  forfeiture  in  that  forest. 

The  royal  grants  of  oaks  from  Sherwood  Forest  were  fre- 
"  quent  throughout  the  reign  of  Henry  III.  In  1228  four  oaks 
were  given  to  William  Avenel,  described  in  the  grant  as  wait- 
ing on  the  King  of  Scotland  ;  two  to  the  leper  hospital  of 
Chesterfield  ;  six  to  the  priory  of  Bligh  ;  six  to  the  canons 
of  Newark  ;  and  three  to  the  priory  of  Thurgarton.  The  gifts 
to  religious  houses  usually  specify  that  the  trees  were  for  the 
works  then  in  progress  at  the  churches  or  other  buildings. 


Occasionally  these  gifts  from  Sherwood  consisted  of  ready- 
trimmed  timber;  thus  in  1228  the  king  sent  twenty  beams 
[copulas]  from  the  forest  to  the  church  of  the  distant  priory  of 
Wormegay,  Norfolk,  then  in  progress;  and  in  1229  forty 
rafters  (chevrones)  to  the  abbot  and  canons  of  Croxton.  A 
single  oak  was  also  sent  in  the  latter  year  into  Norfolk  to  one 
Richard  de  St.  John,  chaplain  of  Henry  de  Burgs  ;  the  bailiff 
was  directed  to  fell  one  as  near  as  possible  to  the  river  Trent, 
as  it  had  to  reach  Norfolk  by  water  carriage.  In  the  same 
year  a  single  oak  was  granted  to  the  prior  of  Bligh  to  make 
a  door  for  his  hall.  In  1231,  William  Bardulf  had  a  grant  from 
Sherwood  Forest  of  twenty  tree  trunks  suitable  for  timber 
(fusta  ad  maeremium  inde  faciendum}. 

Henry  III.  dealt  generously  with  the  fallow  deer  of  Sher- 
wood. Thus  in  1229  he  gave  two  does  to  Beatrice,  wife  of 
Walter  de  Evermuth,  constable  of  Lincoln  Castle  ;  ten  does 
and  a  brocket  to  John,  the  constable  of  Chester,  to  be  placed  in 
his  park  of  Dunyton  ;  ten  does  and  two  bucks  to  Hugh  Dis- 
pencer  to  help  to  stock  his  park  at  Loughborough  ;  and  twenty 
does  and  two  bucks  for  the  Bishop  of  Carlisle's  park  at  Mel- 
burne.  In  1230,  fifteen  more  does  and  five  bucks  were  sent  to 
Hugh  Dispencer's  park  at  Loughborough,  whilst  a  further 
donation  of  ten  does  and  two  bucks  was  made  to  the  same 
park  in  the  next  year.  The  Bishop  of  Lincoln  received  twelve 
Sherwood  does  and  three  bucks  in  1231  towards  the  stocking 
of  his  park  at  Stowe. 

At  the  eyre  of  1251,  held  at  Nottingham  before  Geoffrey 
Langley,  chief  justice  of  the  forests  north  of  the  Trent,  an 
inquisition  was  held  respecting  the  ministers  of  Sherwood 
Forest.  It  was  then  reported  that  there  were  within  the  forest 
three  keepings,  namely,  the  first  between  Leen  and  Doverbeck, 
the  second  the  High  Forest,  and  the  third  Rumewood  ;  and 
that  Robert  de  Everingham,  as  chief  keeper,  ought  to  have 
a  sworn  chief  servant  (a  riding  or  itinerant  forester,  as  de- 
scribed in  other  »forests),  who  was  to  go  through  all  the  forest 
at  his  own  cost  to  attach  transgressors,  and  to  present  them 
before  the  verderers  at  the  attachment  courts.  In  the  first 
keeping,  the  chief  keeper  was  to  have  one  riding  forester  with 
a  servant,  two  foot  foresters,  two  verderers,  and  two  agisters. 
In  this  keeping  there  were  three  parks  or  hays,  namely,  Best- 


wood,  Lindley,  and  Welby.  In  the  second  keeping,  of  High 
Forest,  Robert  de  Everingham  was  to  have  two  riding  foresters 
with  their  servants,  two  foot  foresters,  two  verderers,  and  two 
agisters.  In  this  keeping  were  the  two  parks  of  Birkland, 
with  Billahaugh  and  Clipston,  to  which  pertained  two  other 
verderers  and  two  agisters.  In  the  third  keeping  of  Rume- 
wood  there  was  to  be  one  foot  forester,  two  verderers,  and  two 
agisters  ;  and  also  two  woodwards,,  one  for  Carburton  and 
another  for  Dudley. 

It  was  also  declared  that  Robert  de  Everingham  ought  to 
provide  a  servant,  bearing  his  bow,  to  gather  cheminage 
through  the  forest. 

At  the  same  inquisition  it  was  further  stated  that  the  abbey 
of  Rufford  was  entitled,  by  charter  of  Henry  II.,  to  a  liberal 
measure  of  vert  throughout  the  forest,  for  they  could  have 
whatever  timber  they  required  for  the  building  or  repairing 
not  only  of  their  establishment  at  Rufford,  but  also  for  all  their 
granges,  whether  they  were  situated  within  or  without  the 
forest ;  they  also  held  the  right  of  haybote,  or  whatever  they 
required  for  their  fences.  The  monks  might  have  a  forester  or 
woodward  of  their  own,  but  he  was  to  do  fealty  before  the 
king's  justices,  and  to  report  at  the  attachment  courts  what 
trees  had  been  taken  by  the  abbey's  orders. 

Among  the  grants  of  timber  from  this  forest  made  to 
religious  houses  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  reign  of  Edward  I. 
may  be  mentioned  ten  oaks,  with  their  loppings  (esccetis],  for 
the  Carmelite  friars  of  Lincoln  (1276) ;  thirty  oaks  to  the  prior 
of  Blyth,  to  repair  his  house,  accidentally  burned  (1278); 
four  oaks  to  the  Austin  friars  of  Tickhill,  for  the  work  of  their 
church,  and  six  to  the  Franciscan  friars  of  Nottingham  for 
a  like  purpose  (1279);  four  oaks  fit  for  timber  to  the  Austin 
friars  of  Lincoln  (1280) ;  twelve  oaks  to  the  priory  of  Shelford 
(1281);  twelve  oaks  to  the  same  priory,  four  oaks  to  the 
•  Franciscan  friars  of  Nottingham,  and  six  oaks  for  timber  to 
the  Franciscan  friars  of  Lincoln,  together  with  twelve  oaks  for 
roofing  shingles.  Oaks  were  also  on  several  occasions  in  this 
reign  supplied  from  Bestwood  park  for  the  repairs  of  Notting- 
ham Castle,  and  of  the  royal  mills  below  the  castle. 

The  royal  warrants  at  this  period  for  Sherwood  venison  and 
deer  are  fairly  frequent.  The  king  kept  Easter,  1276,  at 


Lincolft,  and  orders  were  issued  on  i3th  March  for  fifteen  does 
to  be  supplied  for  the  royal  use  at  that  season  from  Sherwood 
Forest,  in  addition  to  twelve  bucks  from  Galtres  Forest.  The 
keeper  of  Sherwood  was  ordered  in  1277  to  cause  Richard 
Folyot  to  be  supplied  with  two  live  bucks  and  ten  does  to  stock 
his  park  at  Grimston.  In  1279,  eight  live  does  and  four  bucks 
were  granted  to  William  de  Colwick  to  help  to  stock  his  park 
of  Colwick. 

The  Close  Rolls  supply  interesting  information  now  and 
again  of  merciful  royal  attention  to  venison  offences.  On 
2nd  March,  1278,  the  king  ordered  Geoffrey  de  Neville, 
justice  of  the  forest  beyond  Trent,  to  deliver  John  de  Cokefeld 
from  prison  to  twelve  men,  who  were  to  mainpern  to  have 
him  before  the  king  in  a  month  from  Easter,  if  the  king  or  any 
other  wished  to  speak  against  him  ;  the  charge  against  him 
was  the  taking  of  a  stag  (red  deer)  in  Sherwood  Forest.  The 
same  justice  was  ordered  by  Edward  I.,  in  1280,  to  take  no 
action  against  Eustace  de  Hacche  and  six  other  transgressors 
for  having  taken  three  does  and  a  hind  in  this  forest,  as 
the  king  had  pardoned  them.  In  1285,  the  heavy  fine  of 
100  marks  on  Thomas  de  Carducis  on  account  of  venison 
trespass  in  Sherwood  was  annulled  by  letters  patent. 

Edward  I.  was  much  attached  to  the  two  younger  sons 
of  Walter  Bek,  baron  of  Eresby,  Thomas  and  Anthony.  They 
were  both  king's  clerks,  and  eventually  obtained  high  promo- 
tion ;  their  names  occur  on  various  occasions  in  connection 
with  benefits  from  this  great  forest.  Thomas,  the  second  son, 
was  consecrated  Bishop  of  St.  David's  in  1280.  On  Christmas 
Day  of  the  following  year,  Edward  I.  granted  him  four  live 
bucks  and  eight  live  does  to  stock  his  park  at  Pleasley,  on  the 
confines  of  the  forest.  On  the  same  day  the  king  sent  a  letter 
to  the  justices  next  in  eyre  for  pleas  of  the  forest  in  the  county 
of  Nottingham,  ordering  them  not  to  molest  or  vex  the  bishop 
on  account  of  four  bucks  taken  by  him  in  the  previous  autumn, 
when  passing  through  the  royal  forest  of  Sherwood,  as  the 
king  had  sanctioned,  by  word  of  mouth,  his  taking  four  bucks 
when  next  he  passed  through  the  forest  as  a  royal  gift.  In 
1285  the  same  bishop  was  granted  twelve  good  oak  trees  fit  for 
timber  out  of  these  woods.  Anthony  Bek,  the  third  son,  the 
celebrated  Bishop  of  Durham,  was  a  still  greater  favourite 


of  Edward  I.  In  1282,  he  had  twenty  good  oaks  granted  him 
out  of  Sherwood  for  the  construction  of  his  houses  at  Somerton, 
as  well  as  four  bucks  and  eight  does  to  stock  his  park  at 
Northwell.  In  the  following  year  he  was  the  recipient  of 
twelve  oaks  and  eight  live  deer  from  the  like  source.  The 
king,  as  a  special  mark  of  his  favour,  at  the  time  of  Anthony's 
consecration  to  the  bishopric  of  Durham,  in  January,  1284, 
forwarded  to  the  bishop  the  largest  grant  out  of  Sherwood 
Forest  of  which  there  is  record,  namely,  ten  live  bucks  and 
twenty  live  does. 

The  forest  pleas  began  to  be  held  irregularly  in  the  latter 
part  of  Henry  III.'s  reign,  especially  north  of  the  Trent. 
There  was  an  eyre,  however,  held  for  Sherwood  at  Notting- 
ham in  1263,  and  again  in  1267.  At  the  latter  date  the  abbot 
of  Rufford  was  charged  with  having  taken  483  oaks  out 
of  the  forest  since  the  last  eyre  ;  but  he  successfully  pleaded 
the  charter  of  Henry  II.  in  justification. 

With  the  advent  of  Edward  I.  to  the  throne,  all  attempts  at 
regularity  in  holding  the  eyres  seem  to  have  been  abandoned. 
So  far  as  Sherwood  was  concerned,  an  eyre  was  held  in  1287, 
but  nearly  half  a  century  elapsed  before  the  forest  justices 
again  visited  Nottingham,  namely,  in  1334. 

The  pleas  of  the  foresters  and  verderers  of  Sherwood  were 
held  at  Nottingham  on  I4th  January,  1287,  before  Sir  William 
de  Vesey,  Thomas  de  Normanville,  and  Richard  de  Creping, 
justices  in  eyre  of  the  lord  king.  The  verderers  were  six 
in  number.  Robert  de  Everingham  was  the  forester-in-fee, 
and  under  him  were  eight  sworn  foresters. 

The  following  venison  presentment,  cited  by  Mr.  Turner, 
may  be  given  as  an  example : — 

"  It  is  presented  and  proved  that  on  the  Wednesday  next  after  the 
Feast  of  St.  William,  Archbishop  of  York,  in  the  year  aforesaid, 
Robert,  the  son  of  Agnes  Bode  of  Edwinstowe,  and  Richard  atte 
Townsend  of  the  same  town,  came  by  night  through  the  middle 
of  the  town  of  Wellow  with  two  fawns  of  a  kind.  And  the  afore- 
said Richard  was  taken  with  his  fawn  by  men  watching  in  the  town 
of  Wellow  ;  and  committed  to  the  stocks  of  Peter  de  la  Barre  of  the 
same  town.  And  the  same  Robert  broke  his  stocks  and  fled  ;  there- 
fore the  aforesaid  Peter  foond  mainpernors  to  make  answer.  And 
the  aforesaid  Richard  came,  and  being  convicted  of  this  is  sent  to 


prison  (and  he  is  ransomed  elsewhere).  And  it  is  witnessed  that 
Robert,  the  son  of  Agnes,  is  dead  ;  therefore  nothing  of  him.  And 
the  aforesaid  Peter  dwells  in  the  same  county  ;  therefore  the  sheriff 
is  ordered,  etc." 

Sir  William  de  Vesey  and  his  fellow  justices  finding  that 
the  king  had  sustained  many  losses  since  the  last  eyre  held 
by  Robert  de  Neville  and  others,  arising  in  many  instances 
from  the  assize  of  the  forest  not  being  sufficiently  observed, 
it  was  by  them  provided  :— 

That  all  verderers,  in  accordance  with  the  charter  of  the 
forest,  were  to  assemble  every  forty  days  to  hold  attachments 
for  vert  and  venison  and  small  pleas. 

That  they  were  to  present  a  single  roll  of  vert  and  venison 
to  the  justices  in  eyre,  and  not  each  one  a  separate  roll  for 
his  own  bailiwick. 

That  anyone  dwelling  in  the  forest  found  felling  a  green 
oik  be  attached  for  the  next  attachment  court,  there  to  find 
pledges  till  the  next  eyre,  and  to  pay  the  price  to  the 
verderers  ;  a  second  offence  to  be  dealt  with  in  like  manner  ; 
but  for  a  third  offence  to  be  imprisoned  at  Nottingham,  and 
there  kept  till  he  be  delivered  by  the  king  or  justice  of  the 

That  anyone  dwelling  outside  the  forest  committing  any 
trespass  against  the  vert,  his  body  is  to  be  committed  to 
prison  till  he  be  delivered  by  the  king  or  justice  ;  for  a  third 
offence  he  is  also  to  lose  his  horses  and  cart  or  his  oxen  and 
wagon,  or  their  price,  and  that  price  is  to  be  paid  at  the 
next  attachment  to  the  verderers  for  the  king's  use. 

That  those  dwelling  in  the  forest  caught  cutting  saplings, 
branches,  or  drywood  from  oaks,  or  hazels,  or  thorns,  or  limes, 
or  alders,  or  hollies,  or  such-like  trees  without  warrant,  are  to 
be  attached  by  two  good  pledges  to  come  to  the  next  attach- 
ment court,  there  to  be  amerced  for  the  king  ;  but  if  it  be  for 
a  sapling  which  is  of  greater  price  than  <\d.  or  any  higher 
sum,  to  be  attached  until  the  next  eyre. 

That  escapes  of  beasts  of  the  plough  into  the  forest  be 
pleaded  in  the  attachments,  and  amends  taken  for  the  use  of 
the  king. 

That  no  man  carry  bows  or  arrows  in  the  forest,  outside 


the  king's  highway,  save  a  sworn  forester,  and  on  the  king's 
highway  only  in  accordance  with  the  assize  of  the  forest. 

That  no  man  save  a  sworn  forester  or  other  sworn  officer 
attach  any  one  in  the  future. 

That  any  dweller  outside  the  forest  agisting  his  animals 
therein  is  to  have  such  animals  taken  before  the  verderers,  and 
the  price  paid,  and  to  make  answer  before  the  justices  in  eyre. 

That  the  great  burden  of  so  many  regarders  is  no  longer 
to  be  endured,  but  that  in  this  forest  the  number  be  limited  to 

And  that  those  taken  by  night  or  in  the  fence  month  within 
the  forest  be  dealt  with  as  before. 

From  the  MS.  book  dealing  with  the  perambulations  and 
pleas  of  Sherwood  in  the  reigns  of  Henry  III. -Edward  III., 
it  appears  that  the  very  large  number  of  350  head  of  deer  (both 
red  and  fallow)  had  fallen  victims  to  the  murrain  in  the  year 
previous  to  the  holding  of  this  eyre. 

The  attachment  rolls  of  this  forest  for  1292-3  are  chiefly 
of  interest  on  account  of  the  presentment  of  vert  offences, 
and  the  fines  assigned.  A  green  oak  was  valued  at  6d.,  and 
a  dry  or  leafless  oak  at  \d.  A  sapling  (bletrum*}  varied  from 
id.  to  T>d.  ;  and  a  stub  or  dry  trunk  of  a  pollarded  tree  at  2d. 
In  one  case  the  same  offender  was  fined  \2.d.  for  three  dry 
oaks,  i2d.  for  two  green  ones,  and  2.d.  for  a  sapling. 

Another  survey  of  the  forest  was  held  in  29  Edward  I. 
(1300),  when  the  bounds  as  fixed  by  16  Henry  III.  were  con- 
firmed, but  with  certain  important  additions. 

In  April,  1309,  the  sheriff  was  ordered  to  assemble  all  the 
regarders  and  foresters  to  make  regard  or  survey  therein 
before  the  coming  of  the  justices  of  the  forest,  and  to  cause 
regarders  to  be  elected  in  the  place  of  those  who  were  dead  or 
infirm,  so  that  they  be  twelve  in  number.  The  foresters  were 
to  swear  that  they  would  lead  twelve  knights  throughout  their 
whole  bailiwicks  to  view  all  the  trespasses,  and  to  set  out  the 
same  in  writing.  The  phrase  as  to  the  coming  of  the  justices 
was  a  mere  form  ;  it  was  repeated  in  the  summons  for  the 
regard  of  Sherwood  in  1312,  although  in  neither  case  was  the 
survey  followed  by  an  eyre. 

Ample  provision  of  wood  from  this  forest  was  made  on  the 


occasion  of  the  Parliament  being  held  at  Lincoln  in  the  early 
part  of  1316.  The  keeper  was  ordered  to  deliver  to  the  sheriff 
fifty  leafless  oaks  in  the  wood  of  Bliorth,  within  the  bounds 
of  Sherwood  Forest,  belonging  to  the  archbishopric  of  York, 
then  void  and  in  the  king's  hands,  for  the  twofold  object  of 
making  charcoal  and  providing  boards  for  dressers  or  tressle 
tables  ;  also  thirty  oaks  from  the  forest  near  the  banks  of  the 
Trent  for  firewood  for  the  king's  hall  ;  and  thirty  leafless  oaks 
for  firewood  for  the  king's  chamber  against  the  ensuing  Parlia- 
ment at  Lincoln,  to  be  felled  and  carried  to  Lincoln  by  the 
sheriff,  and  there  to  be  delivered  by  him  to  the  clerk  of  the 
king's  scullery. 

The  oaks  of  Sherwood  Forest  were  always  held  in  good 
repute  when  choice  timber  was  required.  An  order  was  made 
by  Edward  II.,  when  at  Nottingham  Castle  on  28th  December, 
1324,  that  the  sheriff  of  Nottingham  was  to  have  the  best  oak 
or  other  timber  out  of  the  forest  that  might  be  selected  by  the 
carpenters  as  most  suitable  for  the  construction  of  nine  spring- 
aids.  The  springald  was  a  kind  of  catapult  weapon  for  the 
discharge  of  stones  or  great  arrows  ;  these  nine  engines  were 
required  as  part  of  the  armament  for  the  expedition  into  the 
duchy  of  Acquitaine. 

A  large  bundle  of  attachment  court  records  from  1317  to 
1324  are  of  interest  as  showing  how  often  these  minor  forest 
courts  were  at  that  period  being  held  in  Sherwood.  They 
were  held  at  four  different  centres,  namely,  Edwinstowe, 
Mansfield,  Lindley,  and  Calverton.  In  the  year  1317  twenty- 
two  of  these  courts  were  held,  six  each  at  Edwinstowe  and 
Mansfield,  five  at  Lindley,  and  four  at  Calverton.  Amongst 
those  presented  for  vert  offences  in  1318  were  two  of  the  local 
secular  clergy,  namely,  Nicholas  de  Nottingham,  rector  of  Clip- 
ston,  for  taking  a  load  of  branches,  fined  id.,  and  Robert  de 
Kirkby,  rector  of  Kirkby,  who  was  fined  3^.  for  appropriating 
a  dry  stub.  William  de  Bevercote,  one  of  the  prebendaries  of 
Southwell,  committed  a  more  serious  trespass  (probably 
venison)  about  this  date,  for  which  he  was  imprisoned  at 
Nottingham.  In  October,  1319,  the  king  ordered  his  release 
to  twelve  mainpernors,  who  were  to  produce  him  before  the 
justices  at  the  next  eyre. 

After  an  interval   of  nearly  fifty  years  the  forest  pleas  for 


Sherwood  were  again  held  at  Nottingham,  namely,  on  2nd 
March,  1334,  before  Ralph  de  Neville,  Richard  de  Aldborough, 
and  Peter  de  Middleton.  The  following  is  an  example  of  a 
venison  presentment  at  this  eyre,  having  reference  to  a  tres- 
pass that  was  nine  years  old  :— 

"It  is  presented  and  proved  that  Hugh  of  Wotehall  of  Wood- 
boroug-h,  William  Hyend,  Wilcock  formerly  the  servant  of  the 
parson  of  Clifton,  and  Stephen  Fleming  of  Nottingham,  on  13 
June,  1325,  were  in  the  wood  of  Arnold,  in  the  place  which  is  called 
Throwys,  with  bows  and  arrows.  And  they  shot  a  hart  so  that  it 
died.  And  its  flesh  was  found  putrid  and  devoured  by  vermin  in  a 
place  which  is  called  Thweycehilli  ;  and  the  arrow  was  found  in  the 
said  hart,  wherewith  it  was  shot.  And  the  aforesaid  Hugh  came 
before  the  justices  and  is  sent  to  prison.  And  the  aforesaid  William 
and  Wilcock  are  not  found.  Nor  have  they  anything  whereby,  etc.  ; 
therefore  let  them  be  exacted.  And  the  aforesaid  Stephen  Fleming 
is  dead  ;  therefore  nothing  of  him.  And  afterwards  the  aforesaid 
Hugh  is  brought  out  of  prison,  and  is  pardoned  because  he  is  poor. 
And  the  aforesaid  William  and  Wilcock  were  exacted  in  the  county 
and  did  not  appear  ;  therefore  they  are  outlawed." 

The  number  of  venison  presentments  at  this  eyre  was  119, 
which  was  not  at  all  large  considering  the  long  period  since 
the  last  of  these  courts.  In  several  cases  there  was  no  definite 
charge  of  deer-slaying,  or  even  being  seen  with  dogs  or  bows 
and  arrows,  but  simply  of  trespass.  Such  trespass  would  be 
by  strangers  at  night,  or  during  the  fence  month.  Some  of 
the  transgressors  were  of  high  position,  among  them  including 
John,  son  of  Lord  John  de  Grey,  who  was  found  in  the  Bestwood 
enclosure  with  bows  and  six  greyhounds,  running  a  herd  of 
hinds  (Jierdum  bissaruni),  of  which  he  killed  two;  John  le  Bret, 
"due  de  Wenton,"  who  killed  a  hind  with  four  greyhounds  ; 
and  Henry  Curson,  of  Breadsall,  who  killed  a  hind  at 
"  Crossedoke,"  in  Clipston  wood. 

In  one  case  a  hind  met  with  its  death  in  an  exceptional 
manner.  John  Bot,  of  Boltby,  mower  of  Allerton,  struck  a 
hind  with  a  stone  and  broke  one  of  its  legs  ;  this  caused  its 
death,  and  it  was  found  drowned  in  the  stream  of  Allerton,  by 
Langwith  bridge. 

At  this  eyre  the  ministers  of  the  forest  were  asked  upon  their 


oath  from  what  person  or  persons  the  foresters  were  wont  to 
receive  and  have  their  living.  In  reply  they  cited  from  an 
inquiry  made  by  writ  in  1289,  shortly  after  Edward  I.  had 
removed  Robert  de  Everingham  from  his  bailiwick  as  here- 
ditary keeper  or  chief  forester  by  reason  of  his  misdeeds,  citing 
the  various  extensive  perquisites  and  privileges  that  he  had 

In  return  for  these  emoluments  Robert  de  Everingham  pro- 
vided foresters  at  his  own  charge.  It  therefore  followed  that 
after  the  keepership  was  forfeited  to  the  Crown,  that  the 
foresters  were  to  continue  to  be  paid  by  whomsoever  the  Crown 
from  time  to  time  appointed  keeper. 

A  roll  of  amercements  of  persons  convicted  at  the  attachment 
courts  of -vert  trespasses  appraised  at  more  than  4^.,  and 
which  could  not  be  amerced  save  at  the  eyre,  was  presented  to 
the  justices.  This  roll  included  about  750  trespasses,  varying 
in  price  of  the  vert  from  6d.  for  honey  found  in  an  oak,  for 
boughs,  and  for  trunks,  to  2s.  for  a  single  oak.  These  values 
had  already  been  paid  to  the  verderers,  and  the  additional 
fines  now  imposed  by  the  justices  varied  from  is.  to  2s.  In 
each  case  the  names  of  the  two  pledges  for  the  trespasser's 
appearance  follow  the  entry  of  the  offence. 

It  is  not  surprising,  after  all  this  interval  since  the  last  eyre, 
to  find  that  some  of  the  verderers'  rolls  for  the  different  attach- 
ment courts  of  the  forest  were  missing  for  the  years  1288, 
1289,  1290,  and  1291.  The  fines  imposed  upon  the  verderers 
of  1334  for  these  losses  amounted  to  the  considerable  sum  of 
£20  8s.  2d. 

As  the  justices  of  the  forest  so  seldom  appeared,  they  seem 
to  have  been  all  the  more  determined  to  exact  appearances  and 
respect  when  the  eyre  was  held.  The  whole  of  the  free  tenants 
of  the  forest  had  to  put  in  an  appearance.  On  the  first  day 
three  of  them  were  absent.  John  Bardolf  successfully  pleaded 
that  he  had  not  received  his  letter  of  summons  ;  but  Adam 
de  Everyngham  was  fined  15^.,  and  Joan,  widow  of  Ralph 
de  Birton,  6s.  8d.  for  their  absence.  The  reeves  and  four-men 
of  every  township  within  the  limits  had  also  to  be  present. 
On  the  first  day,  William  Goodrych,  and  William  de  Norman- 
ton,  both  of  Lenton,  were  fined  collectively  3,?.  4^.,  whilst 
William  Router,  the  reeve  of  Basford,  had  to  pay  2s. 


Before   the  justices   left   Nottingham,  they  issued  a  series 

of  pardons  for  both  venison  and  vert  offences.  Amongst  the 
eighteen  pardoned  were  Sir  John  le  Bret,  the  rector  of  Annesley, 
and  the  vicar  of  Edwinstowe. 

In  1340,  the  king  pardoned  John,  Bishop  of  Carlisle,  for 
killing  a  doe  in  Sherwood  Forest  and  taking  it  away. 

In  the  accounts  presented  by  William  Latimer,  who  was 
then  keeper  of  Sherwood  Forest,  for  the  years  1368-9,  record 
is  made  of  the  whole  of  the  attachment  courts.  The  return 
shows  that  substantial  efforts  were  then  made  to  comply  with 
the  forest  law  by  holding  attachments  every  forty  days  in  each 
district ;  Edwinstowe  was  the  only  centre  that  fell  short  of  the 
proper  number,  having  but  seven  of  these  forest  courts  during 
the  twelvemonth  ;  nine  each  were  held  at  Mansfield,  Lindley, 
and  Calverton.  There  are  no  special  features  about  the  pre- 
sentments of  that  year. 

The  Sherwood  exchequer  accounts  for  1395-6  show  that 
£30  of  the  forest  profits  were  that  year  expended  upon  the 
royal  lodge  or  manor  house  of  Clipston. 

The  accounts  for  1430-2  give  full  details  of  the  agistment 
of  the  park  of  Clipston  ;  cows  were  charged  from  6d.  to  lod. 
each,  and  calves  ^d.  ;  the  total  agistment  for  1431  came  to 
2os.  *]d.  Particulars  are  also  given  of  the  pannage  in  Best- 
wood  park  ;  the  average  charge  for  each  pig  at  this  date 
was  2d. 

From  an  inspeximus  and  confirmation  granted  to  the  monks 
of  Rufford  in  1462,  citing  all  their  old  royal  charters,  it  ap- 
peared that  the  men  of  Clipston  and  Edwinstowe  were  not 
allowed  to  take  anything  from  the  abbey  woods  that  were 
within  the  forest,  and  that  the  monks  were  at  liberty  to  sell  all 
windfalls  within  their  woods,  and  to  root  up  dead  stumps,  and 
take  heather  without  let  or  hindrance. 

Sir  William  Hastings,  in  1471,  was  granted  for  life  by  the 
Crown,  the  offices  of  constable  of  Nottingham  Castle,  together 
with  that  of  keeper  and  steward  of  Sherwood  Forest,  and  the 
keepership  or  wardship  of  all  the  parks  and  woods,  with  every 
possible  privilege  of  agistment,  pannage,  cheminage,  dog- 
silver,  etc.  The  abuse  of  accumulating  a  great  number  of 
distinct  forest  offices  in  one  man's  hands  and  allowing  all  the 
work  to  be  done  by  poorly  paid  underlings  or  deputies  began, 


so  far  as  Sherwood  was  concerned,  soon  after  me  extinction 
in  Edward  I.'s  time  of  the  hereditary  forestership. 

In  the  reign  of  Edward  IV.,  and  subsequently,  various 
appointments  of  king's  foresters  of  Sherwood  are  entered  on 
the  Patent  Rolls  at  a  wage  of  ^d.  a  day. 

A  forest  session  was  held  at  Allerton  on  3rd  June,  1538. 
Among  the  higher  officials,  Thomas  Earl  of  Rutland  is 
named  as  master  of  the  game,  and  Sir  John  Byron  as  keeper 
of  Bestwood  park  and  forester  of  Thorney.  Eleven  other 
foresters,  thirty-five  woodwards,  fourteen  regarders,  three 
verderers,  and  the  constables  and  four-men  of  twenty-eight 
townships  are  all  specified  as  being  in  attendance. 

The  large  majority  of  the  constables  and  "  fower-men  "  of 
different  towns  stated  on  their  corporal  oath  that  they  "doth 
knowe  nothing  that  is  to  the  disturbaunce  of  the  kyng  his 
game  or  woode  within  the  seide  Foreste."  Among  the  ex- 
ceptions may  be  quoted  the  two  following  presentments  from 
Mansfield  :— 

"  Item,  the  Constable  and  Power  men  of  the  towneshippe  of 
Mannsefelde  sayeth  that  one  Cristofer  Shutte,  Gerves  Herdy,  and 
one  William  Falcherde  dothe  kepe  in  their  bowses  moo  Fyres  then 
of  right  they  ought  to  do,  wherebye  the  kyng  his  woode  is  destroyed 
extendyng  every  yere  to  three  score  lodes  contrarie  the  Statute  of 
the  Forest. 

"  Item,  that  one  Richarde  Swynesloo,  Thomas  Clerke,  Cristofer 
Bradeshawe  [and  five  others]  dothe  staff-hyrde  theire  shepe  of  the 
Kyng  his  Common  the  number  of  twelve  score  where  the  Kyng  his 
deare  shulde  have  their  peacablie  Feadyng." 

The  jury  of  freemen  of  the  town  of  Nottingham  presented 
the  names  of  four  burgesses,  each  of  whom  owned  a  greyhound, 
but  stated  that  they  only  kept  them  for  the  purpose  of  hunting 
hares  and  foxes  in  the  forest  (to  which  they  had  a  chartered 
right),  and  not  for  the  disturbance  of  the  king's  game.  The 
justices  accepted  their  plea  as  to  the  motive  for  keeping  the 
greyhounds.  They  also  made  two  orders  affecting  the  forest 
wood — firstly,  that  no  hedgebote  nor  firebote  was  to  be  taken 
without  the  deliverance  of  the  woodward,  nor  any  housebote 
without  the  deliverance  of  the  keeper  as  well  as  the  woodward ; 
and  secondly,  that  no  one  was  to  fell  any  of  his  own  wood  for 




any  intent  "withoute  the  especiall  lycense  of  the  kynge  his 
highnes,  or  the  Justice  of  the  Foreste,  and  that  none  from 
hencesforthe  do  take  aine  woode  for  bleaching." 

At  the  east  end  of  the  south  aisle  of  Blidworth  church, 
which  stands  on  a  commanding  site  about  the  centre  of  Sher- 
wood Forest,  is  a  mural  tablet  to  the  memory  of  a  local 
Elizabethan  worthy,  Thomas  Leake,  who  was  ranger  of  Blid- 
worth walk  or  ward  of  this  forest.  The  memorial  tablet  was 
put  up  a  few  years  later;  round  the  margin  (Plate  xx.)  are 
a  curious  number  of  hunting  trophies,  long-bows,  cross-bows, 
horn,  hounds,  etc.  The  epitaph  is  :— 

Here  rests  T.  Leake,  whose  virtues  were  so  knowne 
In  all  these  parts,  that  this  engraved  stone 
Needs  naught  relate  but  his  untimely  end, 
Which  was  in  single  fig-ht,  whylst  youth  did  lend 
His  ayde  to  valor,  hee  wl  ease  oerpast 
Many  slyght  dangers,  greater  then  this  last ; 
But  willfulle  fate  in  these  things  governs  all, 
Hee  towld  out  threescore  years  before  his  fall, 
Most  of  w1'  tyme  hee  wasted  in  this  wood 
Much  of  his  wealth,  and  last  of  all  his  blood. 
1608.     Febr.  4. 

The  date  on  the  slab  is  that  of  its  erection.  The  parish 
registers  show  that  "Thomas  Leeke,  esquier,"  was  buried  on 
4th  February,  1597-8.  In  the  churchyard  stands  a  massive 
cross  to  his  memory.  A  brass  plate  affixed  to  it  in  1836 
records  that  the  cross  was  originally  erected  at  the  place  in  the 
woodlands  where  this  gladiator  insignis  met  with  his  death,  and 
moved  at  that  date  to  the  churchyard. 

A  careful  survey  made  in  1609  showed  that  there  were  then 
21,009  oak  trees  in  Birkland,  and  28,900  in  Bilhagh,  or  a  total 
of  49,909,  and  that  the  trees  in  general  were,  even  at  that  date, 
past  maturity.  It  may  here  be  mentioned,  as  showing  the 
steady  diminution  of  timber  that  went  on  from  that  date, 
through  decay,  tempest,  and  felling,  that  in  1686  the  Birkland 
and  Bilhagh  trees  only  totalled  37,316,  including  a  great 
number  of  hollow  or  decayed  trees,  and  that  in  1790  they  were 
reduced  to  10,117. 

A  large  number  of  these  trees  during  this  period  were  felled 
for  the  navy,  particularly  under  the  Commonwefhh  ;  but  the 
stock  was  subject  to  further  reduction  on  a  large  scale  by 


exceptional  grants  that  were  made  from  time  to  time.  Thus, 
about  1680  the  inhabitants  of  Edwinstowe  petitioned  the  Crown 
for  permission  to  fell  200  oaks  to  the  value  of  .£200,  out  of  the 
hays  of  Birkland  and  Bilhagh,  for  the  repair  of  their  parish 
church,  then  in  a  ruinous  condition  through  the  fall  of  the 
steeple.  The  petition  was  entertained,  and  on  a  survey  being 
made  for  that  purpose  it  was  found  that  "although  there  were 
yet  standing  many  thousand  trees,  few  of  which  there  were  but 
what  were  decaying,  and  very  few  useful  for  the  navy." 

As  to  the  red  deer  of  the  forest — the  fallow  deer  were  con- 
fined to  the  parks — they  increased  during  the  eighteenth 
century.  The  1,000  head  of  1538  was  admittedly  only  a  rough 
estimate  ;  a  more  particular  survey  of  1616  gave  the  numbers 
at  1,263,  and  another  of  1635  at  J>367.  Out  of  the  latter 
total,  987  were  termed  raskall,  or  out  of  condition. 

In  1708  a  representative  meeting  of  the  gentlemen  of  the 
north  of  the  county  was  held  at  Rufford,  at  which  a  strongly- 
worded  petition  was  adopted,  addressed  to  the  Crown,  com- 
plaining of  "the  grievous  and  almost  intolerable  burden  we 
labour  under  by  reason  of  the  numerous  increase  of  the  red 
deer  in  the  forest  of  Sherwood  these  late  years."  They  com- 
plained that  so  many  of  the  woods  had  been  granted  or  given 
away  by  the  queen's  predecessors  that  there  was  but  little 
harbour  left  for  the  deer  in  the  forest,  and  the  deer  in  conse- 
quence were  distributed  all  over  the  county,  eating  up  the  corn 
and  grass  ;  that  their  tenants  had  often  to  watch  all  night  to 
keep  the  deer  off;  that  their  servants  were  terrified  by  several 
new  keepers  made  by  the  present  deputy- warder,  who  "threaten 
them  if  so  much  as  they  do  set  a  little  dog  at  the  deer  though 
in  the  corn";  that  not  only  had  they  to  watch  their  cornfields, 
where  the  deer  often  lay  nine  or  ten  brace  together,  but  they 
so  destroy  private  woods  as  to  injure  them  to  the  extent  of 
from  £10  to  £50  a  year. 

At  the  same  time  another  petition  was  addressed  to  the 
House  of  Commons  with  about  400  signatures,  wherein  it  was 
stated  that  the  number  of  red  deer  in  the  forest,  "till  very 
lately,  had  seldom  or  never  exceeded  three  hundred,  which  was 
as  great  a  number,  considering  the  barreness  of  the  soil  and 
the  great  destruction  of  the  woods,  as  the  forest  could  main- 
tain." In  the  light  of  other  evidence  this  estimate,  used  for  the 


sake  of  strengthening  the  petitioners'  arguments,  was  probably 
much  below  the  mark.  The  petitioners  proceeded  to  state  that 
these  deer  now  numbered  more  than  900  ;  that  they  roamed 
over  the  whole  country  to  find  sustenance,  but  more  particularly 
that  these  depredations  were  chiefly  carried  on  in  "the  division 
called  Hatfield  and  the  whole  district  of  the  Clay  ;  and  that 
these  parts  of  the  county  were  outside  the  forest  limits  accord- 
ing to  the  perambulation  and  inquisition  of  Edward  I."  The 
petitioners  were  not  well  advised  as  to  the  bounds,  and  had 
apparently  confused  the  perambulation  of  Henry  III.  with  that 
of  Edward  I.  This  petition  met  with  no  favour,  for  it  was 
argued,  though  incorrectly,  that  the  owners  had  never  before 
been  asked  to  stint  the  number  of  deer,  and  that  it  was  a 
request  to  Parliament  to  take  away  the  queen's  liberty  and 
right  without  her  consent.  On  a  copy  of  this  petition  still 
extant  is  endorsed  :— 

"  Tis  no  doubt  but  that  if  there  were  no  more  than  fifty  deer  in  the 
whole  forest,  and  if  it  should  happen  that  they  were  on  any  one 
particular  man's  two  or  three  acres  of  corn  or  turnips,  they  would  be 
sure  to  lessen  his  crop;  yet  he  bought  the  land  with  the  incumbrance, 
and  it  is  past  all  dispute  that  the  queen  has  as  much  right  to  it  as  any 
man  has  to  his  own  coat." 

At  this  period  the  forest  was  no  source  of  profit  to  the 
Crown,  but  the  contrary.  £1,000  a  year  was  granted  during 
Anne's  reign  to  maintain  the  deer  and  the  new  park  at  Clum- 
ber, and  to  hunt  with  two  huntsmen,  forty  couple  of  hounds, 
eleven  horses,  and  four  grooms;  there  were  four  "forest 
keepers"  at  £25  each,  and  four  "deputy  purlieu  rangers"  at 
£10  each  ;  the  winter  hay  for  the  deer  averaged  £100  a  year. 

But  from  1683  the  area  of  the  forest  was  being  constantly 
curtailed  ;  in  that  year  1,270  acres,  out  of  the  hays  of  Bilhagh 
and  the  White  Lodge,  were  sold  to  the  Duke  of  Kingston  to 
*  be  enclosed  within  his  park  of  Thoresby.  At  the  beginning  of 
the  next  century  about  3,000  acres  of  the  previous  open  forest 
were  impaled  to  protect  the  deer,  under  the  auspices  of  the 
Duke  of  Newcastle,  who  was  then  keeper ;  this  was  called  the 
New  Park,  and  is  now  known  as  Clumber  Park.  Between 
1789  and  1796  inclusive,  Acts  were  passed  for  the  enclosure 
of  Arnold  Forest,  Basford  Forest,  Sutton  in  Ashfield,  Kirby 


in  Ashfield,  and  Lenton  and  Radford,  whereby  8,248  acres 
were  brought  into  cultivation. 

When  Major  Rooke  published  his  interesting  Sketch  of  the 
Ancient  and  Present  State  of  Sherwood  Forest,  in  1799,  the  part 
of  the  forest  that  still  remained  to  the  Crown  were  the  hays  of 
Birkland  and  Bilhagh,  which  had  a  total  extent  of  1,487  acres. 

At  that  time  the  ministers  of  this  much  restricted  forest 
were  the  Duke  of  Portland,  lord  warden  by  letters  patent ; 
four  verderers,  Sir  F.  Molineux,  Bart.,  John  Litchfield,  E.  T. 
Gould,  and  W.  Sherbrook,  Esquires,  elected  by  the  free- 
holders for  life  ;  and  John  Gladwin,  Esq.,  steward,  appointed 
by  the  lord  chief  justice  in  eyre  during  pleasure.  The  office 
of  bow-bearer  had  been  vacant  since  the  death  of  Lord  Byron. 
There  were  also  nine  keepers  appointed  by  the  verderers 
during  pleasure,  with  an  annual  salary  of  2os.  each,  and  two 
annually  sworn  woodwards  for  Sutton  and  Carlton.  Each  of 
the  verderers  received  a  fee-tree  annually  out  of  the  king's  hays 
of  Birkland  and  Bilhagh. 

Major  Rooke — when  writing  of  the  many  venerable  old  oaks 
of  extraordinary  size  then  standing,  several  of  them  measuring 
34  feet  in  circumference,  and  with  tops  and  lateral  branches 
rich  in  foliage,  though  hollow  in  their  trunks — tells  of  the 
remarkable  extent  of  the  woodland  as  late  as  the  beginning 
of  the  eighteenth  century  : — 

''The  Revd.  Dr.  Wylde,  Prebend  of  Southwell  and  rector  of 
St.  Nicholas  in  Nottingham,  assured  me  he  had  often  heard  his 
father,  William  Wylde,  Esq.,  of  Nettleworth,  who  died  in  the  year 
1780,  in  the  83rd  year  of  his  age,  say,  that  he  well  remembered  one 
continued  wood  from  Mansfield  to  Nottingham." 

Major  Rooke,  in  the  same  pamphlet,  gives  a  remarkable 
account,  with  plates,  of  the  curious  discovery  of  ancient  tree 
marks  or  brands  that  were  found  cut  and  stamped  in  the 
bodies  of  certain  trees  recently  felled  in  Birkland  and  Bilhagh, 
and  which  denote  the  reigning  king. 

"No.  i  has  hollow  or  indented  letters  I  and  R  for  James  Rex. 
No.  2  has  the  same  letters  in  relief,  which  filled  up  the  interstices  of 
the  letters  in  No.  i  before  the  piece  was  split.  It  is  remarkable  that 
when  the  bark  has  been  stript  off  for  cutting  letters,  the  wood  which 
grows  over  the  wound  never  adheres  to  that  part,  but  separates  of 



itself  when  the  wood  is  cut  in  that  direction.  The  piece  No.  3  has  the 
letters  W.  M.,  with  a  crown  for  King  William  and  Queen  Mary. 
No.  4  has  the  letter  I,  with  an  imperfect  impression  of  a  blunt 
radiated  crown,  resembling"  those  represented  in  old  prints  on  the 
head  of  King  John  ;  another  piece,  cut  out  of  an  oak  some  years  ago, 
had  the  same  kind  of  crown  with  I.  O.  and  R.  for  John  Rex.  The 
piece  of  oak  No.  i,  with  the  letters  I.  and  R.,  was  about  one  foot 
within  the  tree  and  one  foot  from  the  centre  ;  it  was  cut  down  in  the 
year  1786.  That  with  W.  M.  and  a  crown  was  about  nine  inches 
within  the  tree  and  three  inches  from  the  centre  ;  cut  down  in  1786. 

)  C  Wi.ll 


The  piece  marked  I,  for  John,  was  eighteen  inches  within  the  tree 
and  above  a  foot  from  the  centre  ;  cut  down  in  1791." 

In  1834,  Earl  Manver's  woodman  felled  an  oak  near  Ollerton 
Corner,  wherein  the  initials  C.  R.  were  found  impressed  upon 
the  wood,  15  inches  from  the  surface.  It  is  impossible  not  to 
feel  sceptical  as  to  the  tree  branding  of  the  time  of  King 
•  John.  The  question  was  discussed,  in  1813,  in  the  Beauties 
of  England  and  Wales  (vol.  xii.,  part  2,  pp.  62-3).  There  are 
interesting  references  to  the  subject  of  the  permanence  of 
brands  cut  on  the  actual  wood  of  growing  trees  in  Notes  and 
Queries  (iv.  Series,  vols.  ix.  and  x.). 

Though  the  glories  of  Sherwood  as  a  royal  open  forest  have 
long  ago  passed  away,  the  noble  private  parks  of  Clumber, 


Thoresby,  Welbeck,  Ruffbrd,  and  Bestwood  occupy  some  of 
its  choicest  portions.  They  not  only  include  much  of  the  ancient 
timber,  but  they  are  well  stocked  with  red  and  fallow  deer, 
which  are  in  some  instances  the  undoubted  descendants  of 
those  that  used  to  roam  at  will  through  the  forest  glades  in 
mediaeval  days. 

A  book  might  readily  be  written  on  special  historic  trees 
still  standing  within  the  bounds  of  old  Sherwood  Forest, 
particularly  on  the  stretches  of  old  forest  at  Birkland  and 
Bilhaugh,  and  on  the  less  known  noble  groups  of  ancient 
oaks  at  Haywood  (Plate  xxi.),  near  Blidworth.  It  is  only 
possible,  however,  to  offer  a  brief  paragraph  on  that  Methusaleh 
of  the  forest,  the  Greendale  oak,  a  picture  of  which,  as  it 
appeared  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  is  given  as 
a  frontispiece.  In  Evelyn's  days  this  famous  Welbeck  oak 
was  33  feet  in  circumference  at  the  bottom,  and  the  breadth 
of  the  boughs  88  feet.  The  circumference  in  1776  and  in 
1790  was  variously  stated  at  36  and  35  feet.  Having  be- 
come hollowed  through  age,  the  great  gap  through  the  centre 
was  enlarged  in  1724  by  cutting  away  the  decayed  wood  to 
such  a  height  and  width  that  a  carriage  and  six,  with  cocked- 
hatted  coachman  on  the  box,  drove  through  the  tree  with  the 
bride  of  the  noble  owner.  Three  horsemen  riding  abreast 
were  able  to  pass  through,  a  feat  often  accomplished.  In 
1727  a  series  of  fine  folio  plates  of  this  tree,  including  the 
passage  of  the  six-horsed  coach,  were  etched  on  copper  by 
George  Vertue,  forming  a  most  rare  volume.  From  the  wood 
cut  out  of  the  opening  for  the  foolish  freak  of  1724,  a  beautiful 
inlaid  cabinet  of  considerable  size  was  made,  which  is  con- 
sidered one  of  the  treasures  of  Welbeck  Abbey.  The  Green- 
dale  oak  still  survives,  but  only  in  the  form  of  a  shattered 
propped-up  wreck. 


;  2 





ONE  of  the  earliest  references  to  a  technical  forest  in  Salop 
is  of  the  year  1204,  when  King  John  issued  his  charter 
to  certify  that  he  "  had  altogether  disafforested  his  forest 
of  Brewood  in  all  respects  partaining  to  a  forest  or  foresters  ; 
wherefore  the  said  forest  and  the  men  who  dwelt  therein  and 
their  heirs  were  to  be  disafforested  for  ever,  and  quit  of  the 
king  and  his  heirs  in  all  those  same  respects."  This  district 
and  forest  of  Brewood  was  partly  in  Shropshire  and  partly 
in  Staffordshire.  Notwithstanding,  however,  the  particularly 
precise  terms  of  the  charter  of  1204,  the  inhabitants  of 
Brewood  were  by  no  means  quit  of  their  fickle  and  lawless 
king,  for  at  the  forest  pleas  of  1209,  cited  by  Eyton,  the 
knights  and  men  of  Salop  and  Stafford  living  in  Brewood 
gave  the  king  100  marks  to  be  for  ever  disafforested,  so 
that  they  of  Salop  who  had  hunted  or  taken  beasts  in  the 
Salop  park  of  Brewood  might  bear  their  share  with  those  of 
Stafford.  From  this  latter  date  Brewood  seems  to  have 
genuinely  ceased  to  be  under  forest  jurisdiction. 

But  there  are  other  more  interesting  records  in  the  time 
of  John  as  to  Salop  forests.  The  chief  forest  district  of  this 
jtime  was  that  long  known  as  Morf  Forest.  It  took  its  name 
from  the  Staffordshire  village  of  Morf,  where  the  break 
began  between  that  forest  and  the  forest  of  Kinver.  Its 
northern  boundary,  afterwards  maintained,  was  determined  by 
the  river  Worf  (passing  through  Worfield)  for  several  miles 
before  it  falls  into  the  Severn  a  little  above  Bridgnorth, 
and  from  there  it  stretched  south  to  its  name-village.  For 



about  the  first  two  centuries  of  the  Norman  occupation  it  was 
at  least  eight  miles  in  length  and  about  six  in  breadth,  but  it 
became  curtailed  by  the  forest  charter  of  Henry  III.,  and  still 
more  so  in  the  days  of  Edward  L,  and  was  wholly  in  the 
county  of  Salop.  The  bounds  are  ably  dealt  with  in  Eyton's 

Pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  at  Shrewsbury  on  March  i4th, 
1209,  before  Hugh  Neville  and  Peter  de  Lion.  A  very 
curious  case  was  brought  before  the  justices.  A  certain 
hart  entered  the  bailey  of  the  castle  of  Bridgnorth  through 
the  postern  gate  ;  the  guards  took  it  and  carried  it  into  the 
castle.  When  the  forest  verderers  heard  the  news,  they 
demanded  of  Thomas  de  Erdinton,  the  sheriff,  what  had 
been  done  with  the  hart.  He  acknowledged  the  offence,  and 
promised  that  his  men  should  come  before  the  justices,  and 
the  town  of  Bridgnorth  was  attached  for  the  offence.  Thomas 
de  Erdinton  was  sheriff  of  both  Salop  and  Staffordshire 
through  most  of  John's  reign,  and  a  royal  favourite ;  the 
calling  of  him  to  account  for  such  a  matter  as  this  by  the  local 
verderers  is  a  proof  of  the  stringency  of  the  forest  laws  at 
that  date. 

Another  interesting  case  at  this  eyre  is  set  forth  in  the 
translation  given  by  Mr.  Turner,  involving  the  seeking 
sanctuary  in  a  church. 

"Richard  of  Holton,  Wilkin  of  Eastlegh,  Hulle  of  Hinton, 
and  Hulle  Roebuck,  the  Serjeants  of  the  county,  found  venison 
in  the  house  of  Hugh  le  Scot.  And  Hugh  fled  to  the  church  ; 
and  when  the  foresters  and  verderers  came  thither,  they 
demanded  of  Hugh  whence  that  venison  came.  And  he 
and  a  certain  other  person,  Roger  of  Wellington  by  name, 
acknowledged  that  they  had  killed  a  hind  from  which  that 
venison  came.  And  he  refused  to  leave  the  church,  but 
lingered  there  for  a  month  ;  and  afterwards  escaped  in  the 
guise  of  a  woman.  And  he  is  a  fugitive ;  and  Roger  of 
Wellington  likewise.  It  is  ordered  that  they  be  exacted,  and 
unless  they  come  let  them  be  outlawed." 

The  sheriff  of  Salop  was  ordered,  in  1274,  to  see  that  all 
the  venison  taken  for  the  king's  use  in  the  forest  of  that 
county  was  forwarded  without  delay  to  Westminster,  to  be 
there  delivered  to  the  keeper  of  the  king's  larder. 

THE    FOREST   OF   SHROPSHIRE        225 

In  the  following .  year  John  Fitzhugh,  the  keeper  of  the 
forest,  was  instructed  to  permit  Roger  de  Mortimer  or  his 
men  to  take  three  harts  for  the  king's  use.  In  1277  the  same 
keeper  was  instructed  to  permit  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph  to 
take  all  the  wood  he  required  for  fuel  for  that  year  from  the 
wood  of  the  Wrekin,  as  the  king's  gift. 

In  1284  the  king  issued  his  mandate  to  the  justices  and  other 
forest  ministers  not  to  molest  the  Bishop  of  Bath  and  Wells, 
as  he  had  the  royal  licence  to  take  timber  in  the  king's 
demesne  lands,  hays,  and  woods  within  the  bounds  of  the 
forest  of  Salop,  for  the  construction  of  a  manor  house  at  Acton 
Burnell,  his  native  place.  Two  years  later  a  still  wider  and 
exceptional  licence  was  granted  to  Robert  the  bishop  and  to 
Hugh  Burnell,  his  brother,  in  consideration  of  the  great 
services  the  bishop  had  rendered  the  king  from  his  earliest 
years,  to  fell  and  take  away  to  his  manor  great  and  small 
timber,  without  livery,  view,  or  other  impediment  in  the  woods 
of  Candover,  Wolstanton,  Frodsley,  Hope  Bowdler,  Corston, 
and  Rushbury,  within  the  forest  bounds. 

Space  does  not  suffice  to  treat  further  of  the  forest  of  Morf, 
or,  as  it  was  sometimes  called,  the  forest  of  Bridgnorth,  but  in 
connection  with  this  county,  rather  than  Worcestershire,  brief 
attention  must  be  given  to  Bewdley  forest,  which,  under  its 
more  ancient  style  of  Wyre  forest,  was  so  vast  a  district  that 
it  gave  its  name  to  a  whole  county ;  for  Wyre-ceastre,  or 
Worcester,  was  a  Roman  station  in  this  forest.  When  the 
days  of  Norman  forestry  arrived,  the  primeval  state  of  this 
great  woodland  district  had  materially  changed.  Wyre  forest 
at  that  period  no  longer  extended  in  an  unbroken  sweep  along 
the  Severn  to  Worcester;  but  though  a  portion  of  its  southern 
extremity  was  in  Worcestershire,  by  far  the  larger  part  of  it 
occupied  the  south  of  Shropshire.  Eyton  gives  good  reasons 
for  supposing  that  the  Shropshire  part  of  Wyre  forest,  per- 
taining to  the  great  manors  of  Cleobury  and  Kinlet,  belonged 
to  the  Crown  in  Saxon  days,  but  that  subsequently  it  went  to 
William  Fitz-Osborn,  Earl  of  Hereford,  and  then  to  Ralph 
Mortimer.  The  forest  rule  that  the  Mortimers  endeavoured 
to  maintain,  together  with  the  persistence  in  the  use  of  the 
term  " forest"  rather  than  the  chace,  point  strongly  to  its  being 
originally  under  sovereign  rule.  The  best  summary  of  the 


story  of  Wyre  forest  is  to  be  found  in  Eyton's  Shropshire 
(iv.,  276-9),  where  he  tells  us  that  at  the  time  when  Prince 
Edward  was  embarking  for  Palestine,  in  1270,  this  forest  was 
fenced  for  miles  to  prevent  any  depredation  of  the  deer  in  the 
adjacent  cultivated  districts.  But  Roger  de  Mortimer  took 
occasion  of  his  powerful  position  to  enlarge  his  rights  as 
though  royal,  and  to  level  no  less  than  two  leagues  of  this 
fence,  so  as  to  give  free  transit  to  the  deer  to  the  great  havoc 
of  the  country.  Moreover,  Mortimer  arrogated  to  himself  a 
right  of  free  chace,  not  only  in  Wyre  forest,  but  in  the  manor 
of  his  tenants  at  Kinlet  and  Baveney,  and  even  in  those  of  the 
king's  tenants  of  Stottesden  and  Bardley,  as  set  forth  by  the 
jurors  of  Stottesden  in  the  Hundred  Rolls  of  1274. 

The  forest  of  Clee,  somewhat  further  to  the  north  in  this 
county,  also  bears  witness,  by  the  general  maintenance  of  that 
name  rather  than  Clee  chase,  to  its  former  royal  rights.  The 
attempts  of  the  Cliffords  to  re-establish  therein  quasi-royal 
forest  jurisdiction  are  also  dealt  with  by  Mr.  Eyton  (v.,  196-202). 


In  early  days  there  was  probably  no  part  of  England  more 
generally  covered  with  woodland  than  the  district  afterwards 
known  as  Worcestershire.  In  the  Norman  time  there  were 
five  forest  districts  within  the  shire :  Wyre,  Feckenham, 
Ombersley,  Horewell,  and  Malvern. 

Of  Wyre  forest  mention  has  just  been  made  under  Shrop- 
shire. The  Crown  maintained  certain  forest  rights  over  the 
Worcestershire  or  Bewdley  part  of  this  ancient  forest  as  late 
as  the  time  of  Elizabeth,  as  shown  by  certificates  at  the  Public 
Record  Office  :  "  Two'of  her  majesty's  regarders  or  presserva- 
tors  of  woods  in  Bewdley  Park  and  Forest  of  Wyre"  received 
a  warrant  in  1587  from  the  Lord  President  of  Marches  for 
felling  200  loads  of  firewood  for  use  at  Her  Majesty's  house 
called  "Tycknell"  ;  and  six  timber  trees  were  to  be  supplied 
for  the  repair  of  the  west  chamber  there,  called  Yew  Lodging, 
and  another  one  for  repairs  to  the  stable.  Henry  Blount,  of 
Bewdley,  gentleman,  was  keeper  of  Bewdley  park,  and 
claimed  all  the  lop  and  top  of  these  seven  timber  trees  as  his 
fee.  The  two  regarders,  or  rather  woodwards,  reported  that 


a  hollow  timber  tree  had  been  set  on  fire  in  the  park,  and  that 
they  appealed  to  Blount  to  save  it ;  he  told  them  to  fell  it, 
which  they  did,  intending  it  for  the  lord  president,  but  Blount 
seized  it.  They  also  reported  that  no  person  was  allowed  to 
take  out  any  dead  tree,  windfall,  rootfall,  or  stub,  "  unless  the 
same  be  first  by  us  vewed  and  prised  and  sealed  with  our 
sealinge  axe." 

Ombersley  forest  began  at  the  north  gate  of  Worcester  and 
extended  along  the  banks  of  the  Severn  ;  it  had  originally 
been  part  of  the  great  forest  of  Wyre. 

Horewell  forest  began  at  the  south  gate,  and  extended 
along  the  eastern  road  to  Spetchley  and  across  the  Avon. 
Both  Horewell  and  Ombersley  ceased  to  be  forest  districts 
under  the  Forest  Charter  of  Henry  III. 

Malvern  forest,  or  rather  chase,  extended  from  the  river 
Teme  in  the  north  towards  Gloucestershire  in  the  south,  and 
from  the  Severn  to  the  top  of  the  Malvern  Hills.  In  Nash's 
Worcestershire  (i.,  Ixxiv.,  etc.)  there  is  some  interesting  in- 
formation as  to  the  considerable  rights  pertaining  to  the  lord 
of  the  free  chase  of  Malvern,  which  are  discussed  by  Mr. 
Turner  in  his  Forest  Pleas  (cix.-cxiii.),  and  clearly  point  to 
the  district  having  once  been  royal  forest.  For  instance,  the 
dogs  of  this  extensive  chase  were  lawed  twice  in  seven  years. 
This  lawing,  locally  termed  "hombling,"  differed  somewhat 
from  the  method  prescribed  in  true  forests  by  the  Forest 
Charter.  All  dogs  that  could  not  or  would  not  be  drawn 
through  a  strap  of  eighteen  inches  and  a  barley-corn  in  length 
had  the  further  joints  of  the  two  middle  claws  cut  away,  for 
which  operation  the  owner  was  amerced  in  the  sum  of  3^.  \d. 

Leland,  temp.  Henry  VIII.,  says:  "The  Chase  of  Malvern 
is  biggar  than  Wire  or  Feckingham,  and  occupieth  a  great 
part  of  Malverne  Hills.  Great  Malverne  and  Little  Malverne 
also  is  set  in  the  Chase  of  Malverne.  Malverne  Chase  (as  I 
hear  say)  is  in  length  in  some  places  twenty  miles."  It  was 
granted  by  Edward  I.  to  Gilbert  de  Clare,  Earl  of  Gloucester, 
on  his  marriage  with  Jean  d'Acres,  the  king's  daughter. 
From  that  date  it  ceased  to  be  under  true  forest  law,  being  in 
the  hands  of  a  subject ;  but  down  to  the  reign  of  Charles  I. 
there  were  verderers,  foresters,  and  other  ministers  of  the 


The  best  account  of  Malvern  Chase  is  that  which  appeared 
in  volume  v.  of  \he  Journal  of  Forestry,  by  Mr.  Edwin  Lees. 

Feckenham  forest,  on  the  east  of  the  county,  was  of  con- 
siderable extent.  A  perambulation  of  Edward  I.  shows  that  it 
began  at  the  Foregate,  Worcester,  passed  to  Beverburn  by 
Stowe  to  Bordesley,  round  by  Evesham  to  Spetchley,  and  so 
to  Sidbury.  In  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries  it  was  not 
infrequently  termed  the  forest  of  Worcester.  The  following 
are  some  of  the  references  to  this  forest  in  the  Patent  and  Close 
Rolls  of  Edward  I.  :— 

Pardon  was  granted  in  1290  to  the  Bishop  of  Worcester, 
John  Gifford,  Richard  Archer,  and  Hugh  de  Aston,  for  a  fine 
of  500  marks  made  by  the  bishop  for  himself  and  the  others, 
for  venison  and  vert  trespasses  in  Feckenham  forest.  A  pardon 
was  about  the  same  time  granted  to  the  prioress  of  Westwood 
for  like  trespasses.  In  this  year  grant  was  made  to  Eleanor 
the  king's  consort,  who  held  the  forest  by  Edward's  grant,  to 
hold  pleas  of  vert  and  other  trespasses  through  her  stewards 
and  bailiffs  every  six  weeks,  and  to  take  fines  due  for  the  same 
to  her  own  use,  save  pleas  of  venison  and  those  which 
belonged  to  the  regard  and  agistment  of  the  forest ;  also  all 
attachments  of  indicted  persons  and  venison  trespassers,  pro- 
vided that  all  persons  indicted  of  venison  were  imprisoned  at 
Feckenham,  and  then  bailed  against  the  next  eyre  of  the 
justices.  In  the  same  year  Walter  de  Aylesbury  was  pardoned 
all  venison  trespasses  up-to-date,  on  condition  of  surrender- 
ing his  bailiwick  in  Feckenham  forest.  A  special  commission 
had  been  appointed  to  inquire  into  the  venison  and  vert 
trespasses  said  to  have  been  committed  both  by  foresters 
and  other  ministers,  and  this  resignation  was  one  of  the 

Edward  II.,  in  1293,  granted  for  life  to  James  Beauchamp 
liberty  of  hunting  with  his  own  dogs,  in  all  the  foreign  woods 
and  groves  without  the  great  covert  of  the  forest  of  Feckenham, 
the  hare,  fox,  badger,  and  wildcat  whenever  he  will,  save  in 
the  fence  month  ;  provided  that  he  took  none  of  the  king's 
deer,  and  did  not  hunt  in  the  warrens. 

Licence  was  granted  in  1294,  after  inquisition,  by  John  de 
Selvestrode,  keeper  of  this  forest,  to  Grimbald  Pauncefot,  who 
was  going  to  Gascony  on  the  king's  service,  to  sell  wood  to 


the  value  of  100  marks  out  of  such  parts  of  his  wood  of  Bent- 
ley,  at  the  least  damage  to  the  forest. 

When  a  perambulation  was  taken  of  Feckenham  forest  in 
1300,  it  was  stated  there  was  no  forester-of-fee,  and  no  verderer 
for  that  part  which  was  within  the  county  of  Warwick. 

The  king  made  a  considerable  sojourn  at  Feckenham  in 
April,  1301  ;  during  that  visit  he  granted  a  pardon  to  William 
de  Stapelhurst  for  taking  a  buck  in  this  forest,  and  carrying  it 

Feckenham  was  finally  disafforested  in  1629. 


Early  references  to  the  forest  of  Warwickshire  seem  to  apply 
to  that  small  part  of  the  Feckenham  forest  (Worcester- 
shire), which  extended  into  the  south-west  border  of  the  former 
county,  lying  between  the  river  Arrow  and  the  boundary  of 
the  two  shires,  and  which  was  added  to  Feckenham  in  the 
reign  of  John.  The  perambulation  of  1300  states  that  there 
was  no  forester  nor  verderer  pertaining  to  the  county,  and 
that  at  the  date  of  the  coronation  of  Henry  II.  there  was  no 
forest  anywhere  in  Warwickshire. 

The  great  woodland  district  of  the  Forest  of  Arden  is  so 
closely  associated  with  the  north-west  of  Warwickshire  that 
unless  the  technical  meaning  of  forest  is  borne  in  mind,  the 
assertion  of  the  jurors,  in  the  time  of  Edward  I.,  as  to  its 
absence  would  seem  remarkably  strange. 


When  special  forest  inquisitions  were  being  held  in  1219 
and  again  in  1224,  particular  instructions  were  issued  with 
reference  to  a  detailed  regard,  and  mandates  were  directed  to 
the  sheriff  and  others  of  Herefordshire  with  reference  to  the 
forest  of  Hereford.  Probably  all  that  was  meant  by  that  term 
was  the  south-east  portion  of  the  county  that  was  included 
within  the  bounds  and  purlieus  of  Dean  forest,  Gloucester- 
shire. A  large  portion  of  the  hundred  of  Greytree  had  been 
made  forest  under  Henry  II.  and  John,  but  this  was  duly 
disafforested  by  the  Forest  Charter  of  Henry  III.  An  entry 


in  the  register  of  Bishop  Swinfield  shows  that  when  the  bishop 
was  at  Ross,  on  a  visitation  tour,  in  1206,  his  huntsmen  killed 
a  young  stag  in  his  chase  of  Penyard,  but  a  dispute  arose 
between  the  bishop's  servants  and  the  king's  foresters  of 
Dean,  whether  the  place  where  the  stag  was  caught  was  not 
within  the  forest.  An  inquest  was  held  at  Howl  Hill,  when 
the  jury  declared  that  it  was  lawfully  caught  within  the  epis- 
copal chase. 


CHARNWOOD  FOREST,  a  hilly  district  to  the  north- 
west of  Leicester,  about  ten  miles  in  length  and  six  in 
breadth,  of  much  natural  beauty,  at  once  occurs  to 
everyone,  who  knows  anything  of  the  Midlands,  as  the  most 
attractive  part  of  Leicestershire.  But  so  far  as  forests  techni- 
cally termed  are  concerned  —  that  is,  districts  subject  to 
forest  laws— Charnwood  has  little  claim  to  our  attention. 
Although  it  so  long  remained  a  rough,  open  tract,  there  is 
no  reference  to  it  among  the  extant  forest  pleas.  From  what 
is  told  us  in  Nichols'  county  history  of  Leicester— a  wonderful 
work  for  the  time  (1799)  in  which  it  was  produced — and  by  the 
more  elaborate  accounts  given  in  Potter's  Charmvood  Forest 
(1842),  it  is  clear  that  this  district  was  never  in  Norman  days  in 
royal  hands  for  the  purposes  of  the  chase  ;  but  its  privileges 
were  granted  to  the  Earls  of  Chester  and  Leicester  and  Win- 
chester, etc.,  and  their  successors,  and  to  the  various  religious 
houses,  within  its  bounds,  such  as  Ulverscroft,  Garendon, 
and  Gracedieu. 

On  three  manors  of  Charnwood  Forest,  namely,  Whitwick, 
Groby,  and  Sheepshed,  swainmote  courts  were  regularly  sum- 
moned until  the  beginning  of  the  seventeenth  century,  a 
survival  of  pre-Norman  jurisdiction  ;  they  continued  to  be 
somewhat  fitfully  held  by  the  owners  of  these  lordships  until 
about  a  century  ago.  The  fact  of  swainmote  courts  being 
found  at  Charnwood  and  a  few  other  places  in  England,  which 
were  not  royal  forests  in  historic  times,  may  be  taken  as  a 
proof  that  such  districts  were  royal  hunting-grounds  in  Saxon 

The  document  cited  by  Burton  in  his  Description  of  Leices- 



tershire  (1777),  with  respect  to  the  disafforesting  of  Leicester 
forest  in  29  Henry  III.,  has  no  reference  whatever  to  Charn- 
wood  as  there  asserted. 

Mr.  Monk,  in  his  Agricultural  Report  for  Leicestershire  of 
1794,  stated  that  Charnwood  forest,  containing  from  15,000 
to  16,000  acres,  would  prove  to  be  useful  and  valuable  land 
if  enclosed  over  three-fourths  of  its  area.  After  much  opposi- 
tion from  commoners  an  Act  of  Inclosure  was  passed  in  1808, 
and  the  final  account  of  claim  was  signed  in  1812. 

The  forest  or  wood  adjoining  the  town  of  Leicester,  although 
it  eventually  came  to  the  Crown,  was  never  a  royal  forest,  as 
it  had  no  forest  courts  of  any  kind.  It  is  named  in  the  Domes- 
day Survey  of  the  borough,  wherein  it  is  stated  that  Hereswood 
was  four  miles  (leuca)  long  by  one  in  breadth.  This  great 
wood  belonged  to  the  Earls  of  Leicester,  who  readily  granted 
special  privileges  therein  to  the  burgesses.  These  rights  are 
of  particular  interest,  and  are  fully  illustrated  in  the  old 
borough  records  which  have  been  recently  ably  edited  by 
Miss  Bateson.  This  great  wood  or  forest  was  disafforested  in 
1628,  and  the  deer  killed  or  given  away  ;  but  as  it  was  an 
earl's  forest  and  not  the  king's,  its  history  must  be  here 
passed  by. 

The  only  true  forest — subject,  that  is,  to  forest  laws — in  the 
county  of  Leicester,  was  a  not  inconsiderable  section  of  the 
eastern  portion  of  the  shire  that  adjoined  to  Rutland  ;  and  as 
Oakham  was  the  centre  and  usual  justice  seat  of  this  forest, 
the  larger  part  of  which  was  in  the  smaller  county,  it  some- 
times all  went  by  the  name  of  the  forest  of  Rutland,  and  at 
other  times  as  Rutland  and  Leicester. 

The  pleas  of  venison  held  at  Oakham,  in  March,  1209,  were 
attended  by  regarders  both  of  Leicester  and  Rutland.  The 
knights  of  Rutland  gave  a  verdict  to  the  effect  that  at  the 
summons  of  the  justices  of  the  forest,  all  men  of  Leicestershire 
ought  to  come  to  the  pleas  who  dwell  outside  the  forest  as  far 
as  two  leagues.  Several  cases  were  heard  at  this  eyre  which 
pertained  to  Leicestershire.  The  entrails  and  antler  of  a  hart 
were  found  under  the  mill  of  Robert,  the  son  of  Adam  of  Skeffi- 
ington.  The  antler  was  fractured  as  though  done  with  an  axe. 
The  miller  declared  he  knew  nothing  about  it,  but  he  was 
taken  into  custody  until  inquiries  could  be  made,  and  the  mill 


was  taken  into  the  king's  hands,  because  it  was  so  far  away 
from  the  town  and  so  near  to  the  covert  of  the  forest. 

The  township  of  Knossington  was  in  mercy  because  they 
did  not  produce  those  whom  they  had  pledged,  namely, 
Richard  and  William,  who  had  been  found  with  bows  and 
arrows  on  the  road  that  led  to  Rockingham. 

The  two  Leicestershire  verderers,  Robert  Langton  and 
Robert  Sampson,  were  declared  in  mercy  because  their 
statements  contradicted  the  entries  on  their  rolls. 

So  far  as  Rutland  was  concerned,  at  the  same  eyre,  their 
two  verderers  were  in  mercy  because  "  they  did  not  that  which 
they  ought,"  and  two  foresters  and  four  verderers  were  in  like 
plight  for  a  similar  vaguely  expressed  cause.  The  town  of 
Oakham  was  at  mercy  for  not  producing  Robert,  a  servant 
of  the  Earl  of  Hereford,  for  whose  appearance  they  were 
pledged.  The  sheriff  of  Rutland  was  also  liable  because  he 
had  not  the  prisoners  who  had  been  delivered  to  him  by  the 
foresters  to  guard. 

A  special  inquisition  of  the  forest  of  Leicester  and  Rutland 
was  held  at  Oakham  in  1219.  After  the  great  storm  of  1222, 
separate  letters  were  addressed  to  the  foresters  and  verderers 
of  both  Leicester  and  Rutland  as  to  the  disposal  of  the  wind- 
fall. Hasculf  de  Hathelakestan  was  at  that  time  keeper 
or  warden  of  this  joint  forest.  The  sheriffs  of  both  counties 
were  warned  in  1224  to  see  that  a  regard  was  taken  of  this 
forest.  A  yet  more  important  and  detailed  regard  was  ordered 
in  1229. 

Forest  pleas  were  held  at  Oakham  in  1256,  and  again  in 
June,  1269,  f°r  tne  forest  of  Rutland,  but  the  proceedings 
show  that  the  term  included  the  Leicestershire  division.  The 
principal  business  that  came  before  the  justices  on  the  latter 
date  were  the  serious  charges  of  extortion  and  damage  made 
against  Peter  de  Neville,  the  chief  forester,  and  the  foresters 
and  other  ministers  under  him.  The  verderers,  regarders, 
and  other  knights  and  good  men  of  the  two  counties,  testified 
on  oath  that  since  the  last  eyre — which  was  held  thirteen  years 
before,  namely,  in  1256 — Peter  de  Neville  had  continually 
appropriated  to  himself  nuts,  mast,  and  windfall,  together 
with  thorn,  hazel,  and  such-like  small  vert,  and  kept  dogs  and 
greyhounds  on  the  unlawful  pleas  of  taking  hares,  foxes, 


rabbits,  and  wild  cats  ;  that  he  had  appropriated  escape  of 
beasts,  and  received  fines  for  hare  and  rabbit  poaching  that 
ought  to  have  gone  to  the  king  ;  that  he  had  imprisoned  men 
and  bound  them  with  iron  chains  for  trifling  forest  trespasses, 
and  had  released  them  on  payment  of  fines  ;  that  he  had  taken 
twenty-four  marks  from  Richard  of  Whitchurch  for  taking 
a  buck  without  a  warrant,  and  IOQS.  from  Henry  Murdoch  for 
his  mastiffs  that  were  found  following  his  ploughman  to  Deep- 
dale  within  the  forest ;  that  he  amerced  various  townships  for 
offences  at  his  will ;  that  every  year,  save  the  year  between  the 
battles  of  Lewes  and  Evesham,  he  had  his  piggery  and  pigs, 
sometimes  to  the  number  of  300,  digging  in  the  forest  en- 
closure to  the  great  injury  of  the  pasturage  of  the  king's  deer; 
that  he  had  appointed  a  forester  for  the  last  three  years  to 
guard  the  road  between  Stamford  bridge  and  Casterton,  on 
the  outlying  part  of  the  forest  on  the  east  side,  to  take  chemin- 
age  for  his  own  use,  charging  4^.  on  every  cart  carrying  wood 
or  timber  from  the  county  of  Lincoln  to  Stamford,  an  entirely 
novel  charge  ;  that  he  made  a  gaol  of  his  own  at  Allexton 
(just  over  the  borders  in  Leicestershire),  full  of  water  at  the 
bottom,  and  there  imprisoned  unlawfully  many  men  of  his 
bailiwick  in  the  county  of  Rutland,  whereas  they  ought  to  be 
taken  to  the  castle  of  Oakham.  Almost  every  one  of  these 
and  other  charges  were  considered  proved  by  the  justices, 
the  clauses  on  the  rolls  where  they  are  stated  ending  for 
the  most  part  with  "therefore  to  judgement  with  him"  (ideo 
ad  judicium  de  eo}. 

Another  charge  against  Peter  de  Neville  was  that  he  had 
increased  the  number  of  foresters,  and  put  pages  under  them, 
to  the  overburdening  of  the  district.  It  was  proved  that  five 
walking  foresters,  to  wit,  two  for  Beaumont  bailiwick,  two  for 
Braunston  bailiwick,  and  one  in  the  park  of  Ridlington, 
together  with  one  riding  forester  with  a  page,  was  the  full 
ancient  complement  of  such  officials  for  the  Rutland  and 
Leicester  forest ;  the  justices  made  order  that  this  number  was 
not  to  be  increased. 

The  whole  of  this  elaborate  accusation  against  the  forest 
keeper  is  set  forth  at  length  in  Turner's  Forest  Pleas  (pp.  43-53), 
together  with  the  following  recital  of  the  forest  bounds  (1269) 
taken  at  the  same  eyre  : — 


"The  perambulation  of  the  forest  of  Rutland  begins  from  that 
place  where  the  old  course  of  the  Little  Eye  flows  into  the  Welland 
opposite  Cotton  ;  and  from  thence  along  the  course  of  the  water  of 
the  Welland  up  to  the  boundary  between  the  counties  of  Lincoln  and 
Rutland  ;  by  metes  and  bounds  as  far  as  Stumpsden ;  and  from 
thence  by  metes  and  bounds  as  far  as  Great  Casterton  bridge  ;  and 
from  that  bridge  along  the  course  of  the  water  of  the  Gwash  as  far 
as  Empingham  bridge  ;  and  from  that  bridge  along  the  course  of  the 
water  as  far  as  Stanbridge  ;  and  from  Stanbridge  through  the  middle 
of  the  park  of  Barnsdale  as  far  as  Twiford  ;  and  from  Twiford  along 
the  course  of  the  water  through  the  middle  of  the  town  of  Langham; 
and  from  thence  as  far  as  the  park  of  Overton,  and  from  thence 
between  Flitteris  and  the  wood  of  Knossington  as  far  as  the  water  of 
the  Gwash,  and  from  thence  along  the  boundaries  between  the  open 
field  of  Braunston  and  Knossington  as  far  as  the  Wisp  ;  and  from 
thence  along  the  boundaries  between  the  field  of  Owston  and  With- 
cote  as  far  as  the  door  of  the  castle  of  Sauvey,  and  from  thence  by 
the  rivulet  which  runs  down  from  Sauvey  as  [far  as  Harewin's  mill ; 
and  from  thence  to  Coptre,  and  from  Coptre  as  far  as  the  boundaries 
of  Finchford  ;  and  from  thence  by  the  old  course  of  the  Little  Eye 
into  the  Welland  opposite  Cotton." 

Space  cannot  be  afforded  for  following  up  the  story  of  this 
forest  in  detail,  but  mention  must  be  made  of  another  eyre 
held  more  than  two  centuries  subsequent  to  the  one  first 
recorded.  By  that  time  this  forest  of  Rutland  and  Leicester 
was  usually  known  as  Leighfield  Forest,  and  the  justice  seat 
was  at  Uppingham.  On  September  loth,  1490,  pleas  of  the 
forest  were  held  at  that  town  by  Sir  John  Ratcliffe  and  Sir 
Reginald  Gray.  Sir  Edward  Hastings  appeared  as  keeper, 
Thomas  Sapcote  as  lieutenant,  Robert  Rokeby  as  ranger,  and 
Christopher  Parker  as  bow-bearer.  There  were  also  present  the 
two  foresters  of  each  of  the  bailiwicks  of  Braunston  and  Beau- 
mont, and  the  one  forester  of  Ridlington  park,  together  with 
two  verderers.  The  five  woodwards  who  appeared  repre- 
sented respectively  the-  prior  of  Brook,  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln 
in  Stokehern,  the  Earl  of  Warwick  in  Le  Haw,  Everard 
Digby  in  Stokehern,  and  Robert  Mawes  in  Wardley  wood. 
There  were  also  present  fourteen  regarders,  eleven  free  tenants, 
a  jury-panel  of  the  king,  juries  of  the  hundreds  of  Martinsley 
(Rutland)  and  Goscote  (Leicestershire),  and  of  Oakham  Soke, 


together  with  the  reeve  and  four  men  from  each  of  the 
townships  of  Ayston,  Belton,  Braunston,  Brooke,  Caldon, 
Lyddington,  Ridlington,  Stokeley,  Uppingham,  and  Ward- 
ley.  It  therefore  follows  that  the  actual  number  of  local 
officials  of  this  comparatively  small  forest  in  attendance  on  the 
justices  exceeded  250. 

The  claimants  of  liberties  were  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln,  the 
abbot  of  Kenilworth,  Sir  Edward  Hastings,  Everard  Digby, 
Maurice  Berkeley,  John  Cheselden,  and  Robert  Mawes.  The 
Bishop  of  Lincoln,  through  William  his  attorney,  stated  his 
considerable  claims  of  hunting  and  agistment  within  the  forest, 
more  particularly  with  regard  to  the  park  of  Lyddington  and 
its  deer-leaps. 

Among  the  presentments  it  was  stated  that  Thomas  Parker, 
parker  of  Redlington,  and  Robert  Rokeby,  the  sub-parker,  had 
felled  three  lime  trees  (Le  lynerey  trees]  worth  6s.  8d.  each. 
They  had  also  killed,  since  the  last  eyre,  eight  deer  when 
training  their  dogs  (pro  canibus  suis  ad  arcum  castigancT). 

The  master  forester  or  keeper  had  distributed  eight  bucks 
and  ten  does  among  the  gentlemen  of  the  district ;  eight 
bucks  and  twenty-four  raskells  had  died  of  murrain. 


THE  wealth  of  unused  material  in  connection  with  all  the 
forests  of  Northamptonshire,  particularly  with  regard  to 
Rockingham,  is  so  great  that  it  becomes  exceedingly 
embarrassing  to  know  what  is  the  best  method  to  adopt  in 
giving  a  mere  outline  sketch  of  the  more  salient  and  interest- 
ing features  of  their  history.    It  is  much  to  be  hoped  that  some 
capable  pen  may  before  long  be  found  to  write  a  monograph 
on  the  forests  of  this  shire.     Such  a  history,  if  thoroughly 
written,  would  prove  more  interesting  and  valuable  than  that 
of  any  other  county,  not  excluding  Hampshire  or  Essex. 

The  most  important  and  valuable  portion  of  Mr.  Turner's 
scholarly  work  on  Select  Pleas  of  the  Forest  (Selden  Society), 
is  concerned  with  this  county.  There  is  also  a  good  deal  that 
is  of  genuine  value  regarding  Rockingham  forest  in  Bridge's 
history  of  the  county,  and  in  Baker's  later  work  with  regard  to 
Whittlewood  forest ;  nor  must  Mr.  Wise's  Rockingham  Castle 
and  the  Watsons (1891)  be  omitted  from  mention ;  but  practically 
their  story  is  as  yet  unwritten. 

The  frequent  presence  of  the  Norman  kings  at  their  castles 
of  Rockingham  and  Northampton  was  one  of  the  chief  causes 
for  the  appropriation  of  such  large  tracts  of  this  county  for 
royal  forest  sport.  Apart  from  parks  of  early  formation,  the 
largest  and  chief  forest  tracts  were — (i)  Rockingham  forest  in 
the  north,  which  was  mainly  in  the  Corby  and  Willowbrook 
hundreds ;  (2)  Whittlebury  forest  in  the  south-east,  in  the 
Cleley,  Norton,  and  Towcester  hundreds ;  and  (3)  Salcey 
forest,  nearer  the  centre  of  the  county,  in  the  Cleley  and 
Wimersley  hundreds.  The  whole  of  the  Nassaburgh  hundred, 
north  of  Rockingham,  was  under  forest  laws  in  the  early 
Norman  days,  but  it  was  disforested  in  the  time  of  John. 



As  the  Conqueror  built  Rockingham  castle,  it  is  practically 
certain  that,  at  the  same  time,  he  afforested  the  district  around, 
and  probably  included  within  its  then  vast  bounds  the  whole 
of  the  Nassaburgh  hundred. 

(See  p.  65.) 

The  earliest  known  record  of  forest  pleas,  which  is  among 
the  "Treasury  of  Receipt  Forest  Proceedings"  of  the  Public 
Record  Office,  pertains  to  this  county,  and  has  been  given  in 
extenso  by  Mr.  Turner;  it  relates  to  the  pleas  held  at  Northamp- 
ton on  2Oth  February,  1209.  The  proceedings  are  full  of  in- 
terest. The  following  are  some  examples  of  the  cases  brought 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       239 

before  the  justices.  Roger  Grim,  the  harvestman  (messartus, 
i.e.  the  foreman  of  the  harvest  labourers)  of  the  abbot  of 
Peterborough,  was  caught  following  four  hinds  with  his  dogs  ; 
he  was  delivered  to  the  custody  of  Geoffrey  Gilbewin,  the 
abbot's  steward.  Geoffrey  failed  to  bring  him  before  the 
justices,  whereupon  the  steward  himself  was  delivered  to  the 
custody  of  the  sheriff  to  be  imprisoned.  William  of  Barton 
was  proved  to  have  falsely  and  through  hatred  charged 
Stephen  de  Pin,  a  clerk,  with  having  feasted  upon  two  fawns  ; 
the  sheriff  was  ordered  to  imprison  him  until  levy  had  been 
made  for  a  fine  upon  his  chattels  at  Barnact.  The  whole 
township  of  Newton  was  in  mercy  because  of  the  flight  of 
Richard  Gelet,  their  harvestman,  accused  of  shooting  a  doe 
in  Nassington  wood,  for  which  Henry,  the  son  of  Benselin, 
was  taken.  The  foresters  found  a  doe  with  its  throat  cut  in 
Nassington  wood,  and  Henry  concealed  in  a  bush  near  by. 
They  put  him  in  prison,  but  on  his  appearing  at  the  forest 
pleas,  Henry  stoutly  denied  the  offence,  saying  he  had  only 
gone  into  the  wood  to  seek  his  horse.  Thereupon  the  justices 
inquired  of  the  foresters  and  verderers  whether  they  now 
thought  him  guilty.  They  replied  in  the  negative,  adding 
that  they  thought  Richard  the  harvestman  was  the  culprit,  for 
he  fled  as  soon  as  he  heard  of  Henry  being  taken.  Because 
Henry  had  taken  the  Cross  and  is  not  suspected  and  had  lain 
long  in  prison,  the  justices  granted  him  that  he  might  make 
his  pilgrimage,  but  he  was  to  start  before  Whitsunday  ;  if  he 
lived  to  return,  and  could  find  pledges  for  his  fealty,  he  might 
afterwards  remain  in  the  forest. 

Thomas  Inkel,  forester  of  Cliff,  found  in  the  wood  of 
Siberton  a  certain  place  wet  with  blood,  and  he  traced  the 
blood  in  the  snow  as  far  as  the  house  of  Ralph  Red  of 
Siberton  ;  and  forthwith  he  sent  for  the  verderers  and  good  men. 
They  searched  his  house,  and  in  it  they  found  the  flesh  of  a 
•certain  doe,  and  they  took  Ralph  himself  and  put  him  in 
prison  at  Northampton,  where  he  died.  But  before  his  death, 
when  he  was  in  prison,  he  appealed  Robert  Sturdi  of  Siberton 
and  Roger  Tock,  of  the  same  town,  because  they  were  evil- 
doers to  the  forest  together  with  him.  The  foresters  and 
verderers  searched  the  house  of  the  aforesaid  Robert,  and  in  it 
found  the  bones  of  deer,  and  they  took  him  and  sent  him  to 


prison  ;  also  in  the  house  of  Roger  Tock  they  found  ears  and 
bones  of  deer.  The  latter  was  taken  and  imprisoned.  Robert 
Sturdi  came  before  the  justice  and  said  that  the  dogs  of 
Walter  of  Preston  used  to  be  kennelled  at  his  house,  and  that 
Walter's  hunters  ate  the  venison  whence  came  the  bones  ;  and 
Robert  vouched  the  aforesaid  Walter  to  warranty  of  this, 
whereupon  Walter  is  ordered  to  appear  on  the  morrow. 
Walter  came  and  warranted  him,  saying  that  his  dogs  were 
kennelled  in  his  house  for  fifteen  days  while  he  was  hunting 
bucks.  Roger  Tock  also  appeared  and  denied  everything  ; 
and  the  verderers  and  foresters  witnessed  that  the  ears  and 
bones  were  those  of  the  deer  which  Walter's  hunters  had 
taken.  As  Roger  had  lain  long  in  prison,  so  that  he  was 
nearly  dead  (quod  fere  mortuus  es£],  the  justices  permitted  him 
to  go  quit,  but  henceforth  he  was  to  live  outside  the  forest. 

Rockingham  forest  in  the  time  of  Henry  III.  was  divided 
into  the  three  divisions  or  bailiwicks  of  Rockingham,  Brig- 
stock,  and  Cliff  (Kingscliff),  each  of  which  had  its  own 
ministers.  This  division  lasted  until  the  time  of  disafforesting. 
The  keepership  of  the  forest  of  Rockingham,  with  Cliff, 
Geddington,  and  Brigstock,  was  conferred  by  Henry  III.  on 
Hugh  de  Neville  in  June,  1219.  In  the  following  month  he 
was  instructed  to  permit  Walter  de  Preston  to  hunt  these 
forests,  and  others  in  the  county,  in  order  to  secure  forty 
bucks  for  the  royal  larder.  In  the  following  year  the  same 
huntsman  had  orders  to  take  twenty  bucks  in  Rockingham 
forest,  and  Richard  de  Waterville  the  same  number  for  a  like 
purpose.  In  the  same  year  Hugh  Bigod  had  royal  permission 
to  take  six  bucks  in  this  forest,  and  others  a  smaller  number. 
In  September,  1225,  the  king  gave  leave  to  the  Bishop  of  Ely 
to  have  ten  bucks  and  two  harts  caught  for  him  in  the  forests 
of  Essex.  But  there  was  so  much  difficulty  and  delay  in 
catching  them  (apparently  alive  for  stocking  purposes) 
in  Essex,  that  the  order  was  transferred  to  Rockingham. 
In  December  of  the  same  year  William  de  Cantilupe  obtained 
a  grant  of  twenty  does  and  two  bucks  from  this  forest  for 
stocking  his  park  at  Aston.  The  supply  of  venison  must  have 
been  exceptionally  good,  for  at  the  same  time  Martin  de 
Tattishall  was  permitted  to  take  ten  does  in  Rockingham 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       241 

The  Close  Rolls  of  1228  mention  royal  grants  of  seven  does ; 
of  1229,  two  bucks  and  eight  does  ;  and  of  1231,  six  bucks  and 
seven  does. 

The  orders  for  wood  out  of  this  forest  in  the  time  of 
Henry  III.  and  later  were  very  scanty  in  comparison  with 
other  royal  forests,  and  hardly  ever  included  grants  to  out- 
siders ;  this  seems  to  be  a  proof  that  well-grown  timber  was  a 
rarity.  In  December,  1224,  Walter  the  Miller,  warden  of 
Rockingham  bridge,  received  one  of  the  forest  oaks  for  the 
repair  of  the  bridge.  In  1226  Hugh  de  Neville  was  ordered 
by  the  Crown  to  supply  Ralph  de  Trubleville  with  sufficient 
timber  in  a  convenient  place,  and  where  it  would  be  of  least 
detriment  to  the  forest,  for  the  repair  of  a  section  of  the  royal 
preserve  (vivarium}  and  houses  at  Brigstock.  In  the  same 
year  further  timber  was  granted  for  the  repair  of  the  chapel 
and  other  parts  of  Rockingham  castle. 

There  is  an  important  series  of  forest  inquisitions  on  Rock- 
ingham rolls  from  30  to  39  Henry  III.  From  these  Mr.  Turner 
has  taken  a  variety  of  transcripts.  The  following  is  the  first 
that  he  cites,  giving  full  and  interesting  particulars  relative  to 
a  serious  poaching  affray  : — 

"  It  happened  on  Wednesday  the  morrow  of  the  apostles  Phillip  and 
James,  in  the  thirtieth  year  of  the  reign  of  King  Henry,  that  when 
William  of  Northampton  and  Roger  of  Tingewick  were  on  their  way 
from  the  pleas  of  Stanion  (within  Rockingham  forest)  to  the  pleas  of 
Salcey,  they  were  given  to  understand  that  poachers  were  in  the 
laund  of  Benefield  with  greyhounds  for  the  purpose  of  doing  evil  to 
the  venison  of  the  lord  king.  And  when  they  had  reached  the  laund 
and  were  waiting  there  in  ambush,  James  of  Thurlbear,  forester  of 
the  same  bailiwick,  and  Mathew,  his  brother,  forester  in  the  park  of 
Brigstock,  came  with  the  walking  foresters  on  the  order  sent  by  the 
aforesaid  William  of  Northampton.  And  they  saw  five  greyhounds, 
of  which  one  was  white,  another  black,  the  third  fallow,  a  fourth 
black  covered,  hunting  beasts,  which  greyhounds  the  said  William 
and  Roger  took.  But  the  fifth  greyhound,  which  was  tawny, 
escaped.  And  when  they  returned  to  the  forest,  after  taking  the 
greyhounds,  they  lay  in  ambush  and  saw  five  poachers  in  the  lord 
king's  demesne  of  Wydehawe,  one  with  a  cross-bow  and  four  with 
bows  and  arrows  standing  at  their  trees.  And  when  the  foresters 
perceived  them  they  hailed  and  pursued  them.  And  the  aforesaid 


malefactors  standing  at  their  trees  turned  in  defence  and  shot  arrows 
at  the  foresters,  so  that  they  wounded  Mathew,  the  forester  of  the 
park  of  Brigstock,  with  two  Welsh  arrows,  to  wit  with  one  arrow 
under  the  left  breast,  to  the  depth  of  one  hand  slantwise,  and  with 
the  second  arrow  in  the  left  arm  to  the  depth  of  two  fingers,  so  that 
it  was  despaired  of  the  life  of  the  said  Mathew.  And  the  foresters 
pursued  the  aforesaid  malefactors  so  vigorously  that  they  turned  and 
fled  into  the  thickness  of  the  wood.  And  the  foresters  on  account  of 
the  darkness  could  follow  them  no  more.  And  thereupon  an  inquisi- 
tion was  made  at  Benefield  before  William  of  Northampton,  then 
bailiff  of  the  forest,  and  the  foresters  and  verderers  of  the  country 
on  the  day  of  the  Invention  of  the  Holy  Cross,  in  the  same  year,  by 
four  townships  neighbouring  on  the  laund  of  Benefield,  to  wit,  by 
Stoke,  Carlton,  Great  Oakley,  and  Corby. 

''Stoke  comes,  and  being  sworn  says  that  it  knows  nothing 
thereof  except  only  that  the  foresters  attacked  the  malefactors  with 
hue  and  cry  until  the  darkness  of  the  night  came,  and  that  one  of  the 
foresters  was  wounded.  And  it  does  not  know  whose  were  the  grey- 
hounds. Carlton  comes,  and  being  sworn  says  the  same.  Corby 
comes,  and  being  sworn  says  the  same.  Great  Oakley  comes  and, 
being  sworn,  says  that  it  saw  four  men  and  one  tawny  greyhound 
following  them,  to  wit,  one  with  a  crossbow  and  three  with  bows 
and  arrows,  and  it  hailed  them  and  followed  them  with  the  foresters 
until  the  darkness  of  night  came,  so  that  on  account  of  the  dark- 
ness of  night  and  the  thickness  of  the  wood  it  knew  not  what  became 
of  them." 

Pledges  were  taken  of  the  four  townships  to  appear  at  the 
next  pleas.  The  arrows  with  which  Mathew  was  wounded 
were  delivered  to  Sir  Robert  Basset  and  John  Lovet,  the  ver- 
derers, and  the  greyhounds  were  sent  to  Sir  Robert  Passelewe, 
then  justice  of  the  forest. 

Another  inquisition  of  i3th  January,  1347,  is  well  worth 
giving  in  full  :— 

"  It  happened  on  the  Sunday  next  after  the  Epiphany,  in  the 
thirty-first  year  of  the  reign  of  King  Henry,  that  when  Maurice  de 
Meht,  who  said  that  he  was  with  Sir  Robert  Passelewe,  passed  in 
the  morning  with  two  horses  through  the  town  of  Sudborough,  he 
saw  three  men  carrying  a  sack.  And  when  he  saw  them  he  suspected 
them,  and  followed  them  as  far  as  the  town  of  Sudborough  with  his 
bow  stretched.  And  when  the  three  men  saw  him  following  them,  they 
threw  away  the  sack  and  fled.  And  Maurice  took  the  sack  and 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       243 

found  in  it  a  doe,  which  had  been  flayed,  and  a  snare,  with  which  the 
beast  was  taken.  And  when  he  had  done  this  he  went  to  the  church 
of  Sudborough,  and  made  known  to  the  whole  township  what  had 
happened.  And  when  he  had  done  this  he  returned  again  to  the 
sack,  and  carried  away  the  skin  of  the  doe.  And  the  township  of 
Sudborough  sent  after  the  verderers  and  foresters,  who  came  and 
found  all  the  things,  just  as  aforesaid.  And  upon  this  an  inquisition 
was  made  at  Sudborough  on  the  Monday  next  following  before  the 
verderers  and  foresters  of  the  county  by  the  four  neighbouring  town- 
ships, to  wit,  Sudborough,  Lowick,  Brigstock,  and  Lyveden. 

"  Sudborough  comes  and,  being  sworn,  says  that  Ralph  the  son  of 
Mabel  of  Sudborough  was  one  of  those  men  who  fled,  and  he 
delivered  that  venison  to  William  the  son  of  Henry  of  Benefield. 
And  the  third  was  Robert  of  Grafton,  who  a  short  time  before  was 
with  Agnes  Cornet,  and  he  fled  and  is  not  yet  found.  But  the  said 
Agnes  Cornet  pledges  on  her  behalf  of  the  said  Robert  of  his  being 
before  the  justices  of  the  forest,  to  wit,  Hugh  the  son  of  Roger, 
and  Peter  the  son  of  Roger.  And  the  aforesaid  Ralph  the  son  of 
Mabel,  and  William  the  son  of  Henry,  were  taken  and  sent  to 
Northampton  to  be  imprisoned  ;  and  they  were  delivered  to  Sir  Alan 
of  Maidwell,  then  the  sheriff  of  Northampton. 

"The  flesh  of  the  doe  was  given  to  the  lepers  of  Thrapston.  And 
the  snare  with  which  the  said  doe  was  taken  was  delivered  to  Robert 
the  son  of  Luke  of  Lyveden,  and  Ralph  the  son  of  Quenyl  of  the 
same  town,  to  keep  until  the  coming  of  the  justices  of  the  forest. 

"The  township  of  Sudborough  finds  pledges  of  being  before  the 
justices  of  the  forest,  because  it  allowed  Maurice  de  Meht  to  carry 
away  the  skin  of  the  doe.  The  chattels  of  Ralph  the  son  of  Mabel 
were  taken  into  the  hand  of  the  lord  king,  and  appraised  by  the  ver- 
derers and  foresters  at  nine  shillings,  and  they  were  delivered  in  bail 
to  Thomas  of  Grafton,  who  dwells  in  Sudborough.  Robert  of  Graf- 
ton,  the  fugitive,  and  William  the  son  of  Henry  had  no  chattels. 
Maurice  de  Meht  was  not  taken  because  he  said  that  he  was  with  Sir 
Robert  Passelewe,  then  justice  of  the  forest." 

On  the  same  rolls  were  entries  of  the  Rockingham  venison 
given  by  the  lord  king.  In  1247  these  royal  gifts  included  two 
bucks  for  Nicholas  de  Criel,  ten  bucks  for  the  Countess  of 
Leicester,  two  bucks  for  Sir  Geoffrey  Langley,  one  buck  for 
Robert  de  Mares,  and  ten  bucks  for  Aymar  de  Lusignan.  In 
the  following  year  Richard  Earl  of  Cornwall,  who  held  a 
general  hunting  warrant,  took  deer  in  the  park  and  without  it 


about  I5th  August,  and  the  same  in  the  following  month,  on 
his  return  from  the  north.  About  August,  Sir  Simon  de 
Montfort  had  twelve  bucks  out  of  Rockingham  bailiwick  of 
the  king's  gift,  and  at  Michaelmas  the  Bishop  of  Carlisle  had 
a  present  of  three  bucks.  In  1248-9  Henry  III.  hunted  in 
person  at  two  different  seasons,  namely,  about  the  Feast  of  St. 
Katherine  (25th  November)  and  about  the  Feast  of  St.  Peter's 
Chains  (ist  August),  taking  deer  at  his  pleasure.  Among  the 
royal  gifts  of  1249  were  five  live  bucks  and  ten  live  does 
for  the  Earl  of  Derby,  and  eight  does  for  the  abbot  of  West- 

When  an  archbishop,  bishop,  earl,  or  baron  passed  through 
a  royal  forest,  he  was  entitled,  under  the  Forest  Charter  of 
1217,  to  take  one  or  two  heads  of  game,  but  only  in  the  sight 
of  the  forester,  and  not  furtively.  Among  those  who  availed 
themselves  of  this  privilege  about  this  period  were  the  Bishop  of 
Lincoln,  a  hind  and  a  doe,  in  1245  ;  the  abbot  of  Westminster, 
a  buck  and  a  buck's  prickett,  in  1246;  Henry,  the  son  of  the 
Earl  of  Leicester,  a  buck's  pricket ;  the  Count  d'Aumale  a 
doe,  and  the  Bishop  of  Carlisle  a  buck  in  1247. 

The  pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  on  25th  June,  1255,  at 
Rockingham,  before  William  le  Breton,  Nicholas  de  Romsey, 
and  two  other  justices  in  eyre.  Ten  years  had  elapsed  since 
the  last  eyre,  and  several  cases  brought  before  justices  were 
about  ten  years  old.  About  thirty-five  cases  of  venison 
trespass  were  presented  and  proved.  Among  the  offenders 
was  Simon  the  parson  of  Old,  who  took  a  roe  in  1249.  He 
did  not  appear,  and  order  was  sent  to  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln 
to  cause  him  to  attend.  Before  the  court  rose  he  was  fined  in 
the  heavy  sum  of  £$. 

In  June,  1254,  a  deer  was  taken  beneath  Rockingham  castle 
wall  by  the  men  of  the  parson  of  Easton.  The  foresters  lay 
in  ambush  through  the  night,  and  at  daybreak  they  saw  three 
men  and  three  greyhounds,  of  whom  they  took  one  man  and 
two  greyhounds.  The  man  was  sent  to  prison  at  Northampton, 
and  died  there.  As  the  men  and  hounds  were  with  Robert 
Bacon,  the  rector  of  Easton,  order  was  sent  to  the  bishop  to 
cause  Robert  to  appear  on  the  loth  of  July. 

The  next  forest  pleas  for  Rockingham  were  held  in  August, 
1272,  after  an  interval  of  seventeen  years.  The  justices  were 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       245 

Matthew  de  Colombieres,  Nicholas  de  Romsey,  and  Reginald 
de  Acle.  The  following  serious  poaching  offence,  aggravated 
by  contemptuous  action,  then  came  before  the  justices  ;  we 
venture  again  to  avail  ourselves  of  Mr.  Turner's  translation:— 

"It  is  presented  and  proved  that  Simon  the  son  of  William 
Tuluse,  Richard  of  Ewyas,  the  page  of  William  Tuluse,  William 
of  Wootton,  Ralph  of  Drayton,  the  chaplain  at  Wootton,  Simon 
of  Hanslope,  the  page  of  the  aforesaid  Simon,  Alan  the  son  of  Hugh 
of  Lowick,  the  woodward  of  Robert  de  Nowers  of  his  wood  of  Bulax, 
John  Messias  of  Lowick,  Robert  Pette  of  Lowick,  Ralph  luelhering 
of  the  same  town,  Robert  of  Grafton,  Henry  of  Drayton  and  others 
of  their  company,  whose  names  are  to  be  ascertained,  entered  the 
forest  aforesaid  on  Wednesday,  the  feast  of  St.  Bartholomew  in 
the  fifty-sixth  year,  with  bows  and  arrows  ;  and  they  were  shooting 
in  the  same  forest  during  the  whole  of  the  day  aforesaid  and  killed 
three  deer  without  warrant,  and  they  cut  off  the  head  of  a  buck  and 
put  it  on  a  stake  in  the  middle  of  a  certain  clearing,  which  is  called 
Harleruding,  placing  in  the  mouth  of  the  aforesaid  head  a  certain 
spindle  ;  and  they  made  the  mouth  gape  towards  the  sun,  in  great 
contempt  of  the  lord  king  and  of  his  foresters.  And  the  foresters, 
when  they  were  at  last  perceived  by  them,  hailed  them  ;  and  the  evil- 
doers shot  at  them  against  the  peace  of  the  lord  king.  And  the 
foresters,  after  raising  the  hue  upon  them,  fled  and  could  not  resist 
them.  The  aforesaid  Richard  of  Ewyas,  Alan,  Ralph,  Robert,  and 
Henry  came  ;  and  being  convicted  of  this  they  are  detained  in  prison. 
And  the  aforesaid  Simon  Tuluse  and  Simon  his  page  did  not  come  ; 
therefore  an  order  is  sent  to  the  sheriff  of  Berks  that  he  cause  them 
to  come  on  Monday  next  before  the  feast  of  the  apostles  Simon  and 
Jude.  As  to  the  aforesaid  William  of  Wootton  an  order  is  given 
above.  And  as  to  the  aforesaid  Ralph  the  chaplain  an  order  is  sent 
to  the  Bishop  of  Lincoln  that  he  cause  him  to  come  on  the  feast 
of  the  apostles  Simon  and  Jude.  And  the  aforesaid  Robert  Pette  and 
John  Messias  are  not  found  ;  therefore  let  them  be  exacted  etc.  And 
because  the  aforesaid  Alan,  the  sworn  woodward,  was  an  evil-doer 
with  respect  to  the  venison,  therefore,  by  the  assize  of  the  forest,  let 
the  aforesaid  wood  of  Bulax,  which  he  had  in  custody,  be  taken  into 
the  hands  of  the  lord  king. 

"Afterwards  an  inquisition  is  held  and  it  is  proved  by  all  the 
verderers  of  all  the  forest  of  Northampton  that  Ralph  of  Heyes  the 
bailiff  of  the  Earl  of  Warwick  at  Hanslope,  who  has  lands  at 
Binsted  near  Alton  in  the  county  of  Southampton,  Roger,  Ralph 


and  Thurstan  the  sons  of  John  the  son  of  John  of  Hanslope  ;  Henry 
the  son  of  the  parson  of  Blisworth,  William  Wolfrich  of  Wick,  the 
man  of  Simon  Tuluse,  Walter  the  man  of  William  Tuluse,  and  Thomas 
who  was  the  son  of  the  chaplain  of  Blisworth,  with  all  the  above- 
mentioned  persons,  by  the  provision,  counsel,  order,  and  assent 
of  William  Tuluse  entered  the  forest  of  Rockingham  on  the  aforesaid 
Wednesday  the  feast  of  St.  Bartholomew  and  during  the  two  pre- 
ceding- days  and  killed  eight  deer  at  least,  and  a  doe,  as  is  aforesaid, 
whose  head  the  aforesaid  Simon  Tuluse  cut  off  and  put  on  a  stake. 
And  the  aforesaid  Richard  of  Ewyas  put  a  billet  in  its  throat.  And 
the  venison  of  the  aforesaid  eight  deer  was  carried  from  the  forest  in 
the  cart  of  Ralph  luelhering  as  far  as  Stanwick  ;  and  it  rested  there 
for  one  night  at  the  house  of  Geoffrey  Russell,  he  himself  not  being 
at  home,  nor  knowing  anything  thereof;  and  from  thence  it  was 
carried  to  Hanslope  to  the  house  of  the  aforesaid  William  Tuluse  and 
Simon  his  son,  who  had  caused  all  this  to  be  done  ;  and  there  the 
aforesaid  venison  was  divided  and  eaten.  And  it  is  proved  that  while 
the  aforesaid  evil-doers  were  in  the  forest  obtaining  the  aforesaid 
venison  during  the  three  days  above  mentioned,  they  were  harboured 
at  the  houses  of  Alan  le  Gaunter  of  Cotes  and  Robert  of  Lindsay  in 
Lowick,  who  were  privy  to  this.  And  afterwards  Robert  de  Nowers 
came  and  made  fine  for  having  his  wood  again  by  one  mark  ;  his 
pledges  were  Simon  of  Waterville  and  Robert  Grenleng.  Afterwards 
Alan  le  Gaunter  came,  and  was  detained  in  prison.  Afterwards 
Henry  the  son  of  the  parson  of  Blisworth  came  and  was  detained  in 
prison.  And  the  aforesaid  Thomas  the  son  of  the  chaplain  came  and 
was  detained  in  prison."  v 

Gifts  of  Rockingham  venison  continued  to  be  made  by 
Edward  I.  ;  it  would  be  tedious  to  detail  them  even  if  there 
were  abundance  of  space.  The  grants  of  timber  were  but 

The  king  often  directly  interfered  to  secure  the  release  on 
bail  of  venison  trespassers.  On  3oth  July,  1280,  Edward  I. 
ordered  the  release  of  Matilda  de  Braundeston  from  imprison- 
ment at  Rockingham  for  a  venison  trespass  to  twelve  main- 
pernors  to  have  her  before  the  forest  pleas.  In  the  following 
year  the  king  instructed  his  steward  or  keeper,  Richard  de 
Holbrok,  to  order  an  inquisition  on  oath  of  foresters,  ver- 
derers,  and  others,  whether  one  William  Genn,  imprisoned  at 
Rockingham  for  a  trespass  in  Rutland  forest,  was  guilty 
or  not,  and  if  not  guilty  to  deliver  him  to  twelve  mainpernors 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       247 

to  produce  at  the  forest  pleas  if  anyone  had  aught  further  to 
say  against  him.  In  the  same  year  the  steward  had  like  order  to 
release  on  bail  another  trespass  prisoner,  unless  he  had  been 
used  to  offend  in  the  forest.  In  1282  two  prisoners  were 
released  on  bail  by  the  king's  orders,  and  in  1283  eleven  more 
venison  trespassers,  one  of  whom,  Roger  Acle,  was  a  clerk. 

A  perambulation  of  1 286,  ordered  by  Edward  I. ,  bears  witness 
to  the  vast  extent  of  the  technical  forest  of  Rockingham  at  that 
date  ;  it  extended  from  the  south  bridge  of  Northampton  to  the 
bridge  of  Stamford,  a  distance  of  thirty-three  miles,  and  from 
the  river  Nene  on  the  east  to  the  Welland  and  the  Maidwell 
stream  on  the  north-west,  yielding  an  average  breadth  of 
between  seven  and  eight  miles.  But  when  Edward  I.  formally 
confirmed  the  Great  Charter  in  1299,  the  forest  bounds  were 
more  carefully  investigated,  and  the  limits  of  the  1286  per- 
ambulation were  a  good  deal  reduced,  the  new  afforesting  of 
Henry  II.  in  several  directions  being  struck  out.  The  land 
that  was  then  disafforested  became  purlieu. 

It  may  be  well  to  refer  to  just  a  few  of  the  many  incidents 
affecting  this  forest  during  the  long  reign  of  Edward  III. 

In  1331,  Nicholas,  abbot  of  the  Cistercian  house  of 
Pipewell,  with  two  of  his  monks  and  another  offender,  were 
imprisoned  at  Rockingham  for  trespasses  of  both  vert  and 
venison  ;  they  obtained  letters  from  Edward  III.  to  the  keeper 
of  the  forest  to  release  them  on  bail  until  the  next  eyre 
was  held.  This  order  had  to  be  strongly  repeated,  the  keeper 
being  accused  of  keeping  the  abbot  and  others  in  prison  to 
satisfy  his  malice  ;  eventually  they  were  released  on  bail  in 

In  1342  the  keeper  and  other  ministers  of  the  forest  of  Rock- 
ingham were  ordered  to  permit  the  provost  and  chaplains  of  the 
college  or  chantry  of  Cotterstock  to  have  the  tenths  of  assarts 
and  wastes  within  the  forest.  In  accordance  with  the  king's 
letters  to  them,  Edward  II.  had  granted  to  John  Gifford,  his 
clerk,  right  of  common  for  all  his  animals  and  cattle  within  the 
forest,  and  subsequently  power  to  assign  this  grant  to  the 
provost  and  chaplains  of  this  new  foundation.  The  grant 
of  the  tenths  was  to  cover  various  newly-made  assarts. 

The  ministers'  accounts  for  1461-2  show  that  Robert  Roos 
had  succeeded  to  the  keepership  of  the  castle  and  forest,  on 


the  death  of  Humphrey  Duke  of  Gloucester.  This  office  was 
held  on  the  annual  payment  to  the  king  of  £65  10^.,  with  the 
addition  of  £16  IDS.  for  the  custody  of  the  herbage  and  pannage 
of  Brigstock  park.  The  hedging  in  of  sixty  acres  in  the  great 
park  of  Brigstock,  and  of  forty  acres  in  the  lesser  park  for  hay, 
cost  66s.  8d.,  whilst  2cw.  was  paid  for  the  carriage  of  the  hay  in 
winter  for  the  sustenance  of  the  deer  ;  considerable  repairs 
were  done  to  the  lodges  of  Brigstock  and  Benefield. 

The  accounts  of  1437  show  that  William  Prostagne  was  at 
that  date  constable  of  Rockingham,  keeper  of  the  forest,  and 
ranger  of  the  bailiwick.  Payments  were  made  in  the  Rocking- 
ham bailiwick  for  rights  of  sheep-folding,  called  faldage,  from 
the  different  townships  ;  thus  Corby  paid  jd.  a  year,  Great 
Oakley  3^.,  Little  Oakley  2^.,  and  Carlton  i2cl.  For  the 
escapement  of  horses  and  mares  payment  was  made  by  the 
townships  at  the  rate  of  7-r.  4^.  a  year.  The  fence  month  pay- 
ments amounted  to  9^.  4^.,  Cottingham  and  Middleton  paying 
jointly  3-$-.  4^.,  Corby  2J.,  and  Great  Oakley  2s.  The  lawing 
of  dogs  was  known  at  this  time  as  houndsilver.  The  total  of 
houndsilver  was  27^.,  namely,  6d.  for  each  man  having  a  dog  ; 
the  township  of  Gretton  paid  14^.,  whilst  Corby  and  Little 
Oakley  only  paid  3-5-.  each.  The  total  receipts  exceeded  .£100, 
by  far  the  largest  items  being  the  rents  for  different  manors. 
For  instance,  the  abbot  of  Peterborough  paid  £12  yearly 
for  the  manor  of  Cottingham.  The  expenses  amounted  to 
£13  9-r.  o\d.  The  clerk  who  enrolled  the  accounts  had  a  wage 
of  7-r.  6d.,  and  the  parchment  used  for  the  accounts  and  for  the 
swainmote  roll  cost  8d. 

Pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  at  Rockingham  on  7th  Septem- 
ber, 1490,  before  Sir  John  Ratcliff  and  Sir  Reginald  Gray, 
when  Thomas  Haslewood  was  sheriff.  Juries  from  the  hun- 
dreds of  Willybrook,  Hamfordshoe,  Polebrook,  Rothwell,  and 
Corby  ;  in  each  case  twelve  in  number  were  in  attendance. 
There  were  also  present  Viscount  John  Welles,  the  master 
forester  and  keeper  ;  Edmund  Malpas,  Esq.,  his  lieutenant  for 
the  baily  of  Rockingham  ;  Thomas  Digby,  his  lieutenant  for 
the  baily  of  Brigstock :  and  John  Pylton  and  William  Lynne, 
rangers,  riding  foresters,  and  agisters  for  the  king. 

The  full  total  of  the  foresters,  woodwards,  parkers,  "  pales- 
ters,"  launders,  constables,  and  four-men,  and  other  ministers 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       249 

in  attendance  as  officials  at  this  eyre  amounted  to  the  consider- 
able number  of  221. 

Those  who  put  in  their  claims  to  their  respective  liberties  in 
the  forest  were  the  abbots  of  Peterborough,  Pipewell,  and 
Croyland  ;  the  prior  of  Fineshead  ;  the  prioress  of  St.  Michael 
of  Stamford;  and  the  master  of  the  College  of  Fotheringhay ; 
together  with  a  variety  of  claims  from  lay-folk,  mostly  of 
a  small  character. 

The  venison  presentments  at  this  court,  covering  the  period 
of  the  first  five  years  of  the  reign,  made  by  the  foresters,  ver- 
derers,  and  regarders  were  considerable,  and  included  the 
legal  distributions  made  by  the  master  forester  as  keeper. 
They  also  presented  many  others,  knights  and  esquires,  for 
killing  ninety-nine  deer,  during  the  same  period,  with  dogs 
and  bows  and  arrows  contra  statutum  et  assisum  foreste ; 
probably  some  of  these  changes  were  in  the  main  covered  by 
some  real  or  imaginary  permit  or  right ;  but  they  are  mostly 
endorsed  on  the  margin  Coram  Rege,  and  must  therefore  have 
been  referred  for  the  decision  of  the  ordinary  justices  of  the 
Crown.  Separate  presentments  were  made,  under  a  different 
heading,  of  eighteen  charges  of  deer-slaying  against  yeomen 
and  husbandmen,  several  of  which  were  by  night,  and  may 
be  considered  as  ordinary  poaching  charges.  In  all  these 
cases  the  sheriff  was  ordered  to  apprehend  the  offenders  and  to 
deliver  them  at  Westminster  for  trial.  There  were  also  certain 
charges  against  the  foresters  themselves,  and  in  these  cases  the 
offenders  were  admitted  to  bail. 

In  the  vert  pleas,  presentments  were  also  made  of  the 
authorised  cases  of  felling  timber  for  specific  purposes,  or  in 
compliance  with  letters  and  warrants ;  of  cases  of  officials 
acting  against  the  assize  of  the  forest  with  regard  to  cutting 
down  trees  or  clearing  coppices,  which  were  referred  Coram 
Rege ;  and  also  of  upwards  of  fifty  cases  of  the  alleged  illegal 
removal  of  trees  and  underwood,  etc.,  by  foresters  and  other 

An  interesting  case  of  encroachment  and  enclosure  came 
before  the  court.  John  Zouch  had  enclosed  with  "dykes, 
quyksettes,  and  clausures  "  certain  common  ground  and  pas- 
ture at  Cokendale  and  Wrenstye  adjoining  the  forest,  against 
which  action  the  king's  tenants  and  farmers  of  the  lordships  of 


Brigstock  and  Stanion  within  the  forest  protested.  The  court 
gave  judgment  in  favour  of  the  tenants,  and  instructed  David 
Malpas,  lieutenant  of  the  forest,  to  take  with  him  a  sufficiency 
of  the  king's  servants  to  cast  down,  if  necessary,  the  ditches 
and  hedges,  and  to  see  that  the  tenants  had  sufficient  and 
easy  ways  of  approach  to  the  common  ;  but  he  was  in  the  first 
instance  to  call  upon  John  Zouch  and  "  such  other  gentelmen" 
as  might  be  concerned  in  the  encroachment,  to  themselves 
remove  the  fences,  and  in  no  case  was  he  to  suffer  the  actually 
aggrieved  tenants  to  take  part  in  the  work  of  demolition. 

Viscount  Welles,  as  master  forester,  was  entitled  to  twelve 
bucks  and  twenty-four  does  annually  throughout  all  the  bailies, 
and  these  are  all  duly  entered  for  each  of  the  five  years. 
There  seem  to  have  been  at  this  period  far  more  deer  in  the 
baily  of  Cliff  than  in  the  other  two  bailies.  John  Nightingale, 
yeoman,  lately  deceased,  who  had  been  keeper  of  Cliff  park 
for  a  long  period,  had  killed  therein  340  deer  during  the  reigns 
of  Henry  VI.,  Edward  IV.,  and  Richard  III.  The  murrain 
during  the  same  period  had  been  terribly  severe,  for  1,400  head 
of  game  had  died  of  disease.  In  Moorhay  and  Westhay  (in 
Cliff  baily),  during  the  first  five  years  of  Henry  VII. 's  reign, 
the  foresters  killed  twenty  deer  with  dogs  and  bows  and 
arrows.  Two  were  allowed  to  be  killed  yearly  by  the  foresters 
in  each  of  these  subdivisions  for  the  training  of  their  young 
dogs.  In  the  same  two  districts  of  the  forest,  Viscount  Welles 
and  Sir  Grey  Wolston,  the  lieutenant  of  Cliff,  killed  in  the 
first  year  thirty-one  does  and  fourteen  bucks  ;  in  the  second 
year,  twenty-five  does  and  twelve  bucks  ;  in  the  third,  twenty- 
nine  and  thirteen ;  in  the  fourth,  twenty-three  and  sixteen  ;  and 
in  the  fifth,  fifteen  and  ten.  The  deaths  from  murrain  during 
these  five  years  amounted  to  282.  During  the  same  period 
David  Philip,  Esquire,  who  was  constable  of  Fotheringhay 
castle,  and  who  had  succeeded  Nightingale  as  keeper  of 
Cliff  park,  killed  five  bucks  and  eight  does.  The  Earl  of 
Wiltshire  killed  a  buck  and  a  doe  ;  and  100  died  of  murrain. 
Those  killed  by  David  Philip  and  Lord  Welles  in  Moorhay 
and  Westhay  were  for  distribution  among  the  county  gentle- 
men to  secure  their  goodwill — inter  generosos  patrie pro  meliore 
securitate  et  utilitate  domini  foreste. 

Sulehay  and  Shortwood  formed  another  division  of  the  baily 

THE    FOREST    OF    ROCKINGHAM       251 

of  Cliff.  During  the  five  years  Lord  Welles  had  killed 
therein  sixteen  bucks  and  twenty-eight  does  for  distribution 
among  gentlemen,  and  David  Philip  five  bucks  and  eight 
does  for  distribution  among  the  inhabitants. 

These  pleas  were  largely  concerned  with  vert.  John 
Nightingale  was  presented  by  the  regarders  as  cutting  both 
wood  and  underwood  in  Cliff  park,  of  which  he  was  the 
keeper,  without  due  warrant.  A  like  charge  was  made  against 
Robert  Isham,  Esquire  ;  but  in  both  these  cases  the  proceed- 
ings were  rendered  nugatory  through  the  death  of  the  alleged 
offenders.  Thomas  Scarbrough  was  charged  with  carrying 
off  twelve  trees  called  "stubbes,"  and  David  Philip  with  re- 
moving a  large  number  of  "spires,"  a  word  in  use  in  some 
forests  to  denote  upstanding  young  timber.  Philip  was  also 
reported  for  the  removal  of  many  spires  in  Moorhay  and 
Westhay  and  Totenhoe  ;  but  much  of  the  timber  that  he  took 
was  used  in  the  repair  of  Fotheringhay  castle,  for  which  there 
was  ancient  precedent.  Richard  Sownd  was  charged  with 
felling  twelve  spires,  five  other  trees,  five  principal  trees  called 
"bordur"  (boundary)  trees,  and  taking  twelve  loads  of  under- 
wood, all  without  warrant. 

In  Rockingham  forest,  as  elsewhere,  it  was  customary  to 
lop  the  twigs  of  the  oaks  and  other  trees  to  afford  sustenance 
for  the  deer  in  the  winter.  Here  it  passed  under  the  name 
of  "derefal  wode."  The  amount  depended  on  the  season. 
Thus  in  1488  Lord  Welles  had  twenty-six  loads  of  derefal 
cut  in  Cliff  park,  but  only  sixteen  loads  in  1489. 

In  addition  to  ordinary  fuel  wood  (usually  eight  loads  of 
windfall,  valued  at  8d.  a  load),  each  forester  had  other  vert 
perquisites.  They  claimed  yearly  on  the  recurrence  of  the 
fence  month  additional  timber  in  recompense  for  their  extra 
trouble.  Thus  John  Wade,  forester  of  Totenhoe,  cut  down 
and  removed  two  stubbs,  valued  at  5-r.,  pro  le  fence  stubbe ; 
another  year  he  is  entered  as  removing  a  tree,  vocy  a  fense 
stubbe,  valued  at  2s.  8d. ;  and  there  are  like  entries  for  other 

Special  fence  timber  for  foresters  occurs  in  some  other 
counties,  but  nowhere  save  Rockingham  have  we  met  with 
entries  of  "fox  trees."  John  Holcot,  forester  of  Moorhay,  in 
1485,  removed  a  tree  called  a  "foxtre"  for  his  own  use,  value 


2s.,  and  in  the  following  year  he  had  a  stubb  of  like  value 
under  a  similar  term.  William  and  Nicholas  Smythe,  foresters 
of  Moorhay,  had  four  stubbs  called  "fence  stubbes  "  and  two 
stubbs  called  "fox  stubbes."  Another  entry  for  a  different 
part  of  the  forest  clears  up  the  difficulty,  where  record  is  made 
of  "fox  et  varmint  trees."  It  seems  obvious  that  this  timber 
was  a  recognition  of  the  foresters'  industry  in  keeping  down 
the  number  of  foxes  and  other  vermin. 

Among  incidental  references  to  timber  may  be  mentioned 
the  felling  of  spires  for  the  repair  of  lodges,  and  for  providing 
rails  round  the  laund  of  Moorhay.  In  1488,  Richard  Watkin- 
son,  forester,  felled  four  stubbs  worth  2s.  6d.  for  the  men-at- 
arms  who  were  going  with  the  king  to  northern  parts. 

The  particulars  furnished  for  this  eyre  by  the  verderers  and 
the  paid  officials  of  the  bailies  of  Rockingham  and  Brigstock 
are  almost  as  detailed  as  the  return  of  Cliff  baily.  The 
keeper  of  Geddington  wood  had  six  stubbs  allowed  yearly  for 
fuel.  As  fox  and  vermin  trees,  he  had  received  twelve  stubbs 
during  the  five  years,  and  ten  more  as  fence  stubbs  during  the 
like  period.  Four  trees  from  this  wood  were  used  in  the  con- 
struction of  a  pinfold.  In  Fermyng  wood,  by  Lord  Welles' 
orders,  eighty  loads  of  derefal  wood  were  cut  in  the  first  year  of 
Henry  VII.,  and  ten  loads  of  fuel  wood  and  one  stubb  were 
taken  for  his  hearth.  Robert  Johnson,  keeper  of  the  wood,  and 
John  Salmon,  the  ranger,  had  each  a  like  supply  for  their 
hearths,  whilst  the  deputies  each  received  four  loads.  There 
was  a  similar  return  for  all  the  five  years. 

Amongst  a  great  variety  of  details  pertaining  to  this  eyre 
that  have  to  be  omitted,  there  is  one  that  should  not  be  passed 
over.  It  was  then  put  on  record  that  twelve  acres  of  wood 
and  underwood  had  been  cleared  in  the  coppice  of  Hamorton 
Dale,  and  the  proceeds,  together  with  those  of  other  clearings, 
given  by  Henry  VI.  to  the  repairs  and  rebuilding  of  the 
church  of  Kingscliff  and  of  the  mill  of  the  same  town. 

A  variety  of  cases  that  came  before  the  justices  at  the  forest 
pleas  which  opened  in  September,  1490,  showed  the  prevalent 
use  of  crossbows  throughout  the  district.  In  1493  Sir  Reginald 
Gray  held  a  court  at  Collyweston  for  the  sole  purpose  of 
restraining  their  use,  at  which  all  crossbow  owners  were  re- 
quired to  be  present  and  produce  recognisances. 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       253 

"These  be  the  names  of  personnes,"  as  is  stated  on  a  forest 
role,  "  yt  carrie  crossebowes  within  the  forest  of  Rokyngham 
of  whom  Recognisaunce  was  taken  as  foloweth."  The  list  is 
headed  by  David  Malpas,  Esquire,  and  John  Zouche,  Esquire, 
of  Bulwick,  followed  by  twenty-eight  more  names  who  are 
chiefly  described  as  yeomen.  Richard  Lownde,  of  Brigstock, 
had  two  crossbows.  The  recognisances  provided  that  anyone 
found  bearing  a  crossbow  within  the  forest  after  8th  October, 

1493,  should  be  mulcted  in  the  sum  of  £10  to  the  Crown  for 
every  such  offence,  and  the  weapon  forfeited  to  the  lord  keeper 
of  the  forest. 

Ten  years  later  than  this,  namely  in  1493,  a  general  Act  was 
passed  forbidding  the  use  of  a  crossbow  by  any  man  save 
under  the  king's  licence,  unless  he  was  lord  or  had  200  marks 
in  land.  In  1514  a  much  severer  statute  was  enacted,  raising 
the  property  qualification  to  300  marks,  and  imposing  a  £10 
fine  for  every  use  of  such  weapon. 

Notwithstanding,  however,  the  registering  of  crossbows  at 
Collyweston,  this  weapon,  so  much  more  fatal  in  comparatively 
unskilled  hands  than  the  longbow,  continued  to  be  used 
illicitly.  At  a  court  held  at  Brigstock,  on  nth  September, 

1494,  before  Richard  Empson,  acting  as  deputy  justice  of  the 
forest  by  command  of  Sir  Reginald  Gray,  and  which  was  in 
reality   an    adjournment    of    the    pleas    of    1490,    there    were 
several    cases   presented   of    the    killing   of    deer   (sores   and 
prickets)  with  crossbows,  particularly  in  the  Little  Park. 

There  is  an  elaborate  account  book  at  the  Public  Record 
Office  (96  pp.)  of  the  wood  sales  and  expenses  of  1555-6  in 
Rockingham  and  other  Northamptonshire  forests.  The  par- 
cels of  wood  sold  to  different  persons  out  of  the  woods  of 
Apethorpe,  Bulwick,  Oundle,  Polbrook,  Newton,  Fothering- 
hay,  etc.,  amounted  to  .£117  i6s.  Hedging  was  paid  for  at 
the  rate  of  2s.  8d.  the  acre  ;  this  was  the  rate  of  pay  assigned 
to  Greye  and  his  company  for  hedging  eighteen  acres.  An 
entry  like  this  probably  refers  to  the  temporary  enclosing  with 
rails  and  thorns  of  a  piece  of  laund  for  hay  for  the  deer. 
£5  4-r.  ok/,  was  expended  this  year  on  the  repairs  required 
by  the  various  lodges  and  launds. 

In  the  same  year  (2  and  3  Philip  and  Mary)  forest  pleas  were 
held  for  Rockingham. 


The  personal  expenses  of  the  justices  of  the  forest  eyre  on 
this  occasion  are  set  out  in  detail  : — 

"Mr.  Attornay  and  others  appoynted  to  be  there"  had  for 
supper  at  Stamford,  on  27th  July,  1556,  "Chickens  ud.,  rost 
muton  17^.,  pidgeons  5^.,  bread  and  ale  3.5-.  6d.,  taille  (teal) 
8d.,  buskyetts  and  carawayes  5^.,  and  wynne  and  suker  20^." 
On  Monday  at  breakfast  they  consumed  :  "Chickens  6d.,  eggs 
and  butter  3^.,  boiled  meat  iod.,  a  peace  of  beffe  8d. ,  a  pece  more 
of  befe  i2d.,  rost  beefe  6d.,  a  conye  4^.,  a  dishe  of  pike  3^., 
bread  and  beare  3^.  4^.,  wynne  and  .suker  6d."  For  dinner  on 
the  same  day  they  had  :  "Boy lied  meate  3^.  4^.,  vealle  5.$-.  4^., 
lamb  2s.  6d.,  pigs  2s.6d.,  befe  2s.  4^.,  pyes  6s.  Sd.,  roste  mout- 
ton  3^.,  rappetes  2s.,  bakynge  of  venyson  2od.,  peper  2s.  8^., 
paist  2s.  6d.j  butter  6d.,  for  payns  and  charges  in  the  dressy ng 
of  the  same  3^.  4^.,  wynne  and  suker  7.?.,  breade  and  beare 
n,?."  The  same  day  at  supper  they  began  with  "pig  brothe," 
followed  by  an  abundance  of  beef,  mutton,  chickens,  and 
rabbits,  etc. 

"  Horsemeate  for  Mr.  Attornay  his  horses  for  on  day  and  on 
nyght "  amounted  to  14^ ;  the  sheriff's  man  received  3^.  4^.  for 
"  settyng  upp  of  a  tente  for  the  Judges  to  sytt  in  and  other  Im- 
plements for  the  same  "  ;  two  poor  men  had  a  shilling  each  for 
fetching  two  bucks  from  the  sheriff. 

The  charges  for  the  Justice  Seat  at  Oundle,  on  July  27th,  was 
on  a  higher  scale;  40^.  6d.  was  spent  in  beer  ale,  and  39^.  6d.  in 
wine.  The  horsemeat  of  the  judges'  32  horses  cost  14^.  4^.  ; 
the  horsemeat  for  Mr.  Attornay  and  the  commissioners'  horses 
cost  an  additional  18^.  Half  a  mark  was  spent  at  Oundle  in 
setting  up  benches  in  the  Guildhall  for  the  judges  and  their 

On  the  last  day  of  August  of  the  same  year  a  Justice  Seat 
was  held  at  Weldon.  The  eating  and  drinking  was  on  much 
the  same  scale  ;  "the  swillers  in  the  kytching"  cost  i6d. 

A  certificate  of  the  regarders  of  Rockingham  for  1577-8, 
presented  by  Robert  Ewarde  and  Rowland  Slade,  shows  that 
wood  was  sold  that  year  to  the  value  of  ,£231  is.  8d.  Mention 
is  made  in  the  sales  of  "wrassel  okes,"  a  term  not  found  by 
us  in  dictionaries,  or  usually  met  with  in  forest  accounts  ; 
it  was  probably  an  equivalent  for  the  dotard  oaks,  or  those 
whose  upper  boughs  were  barkless  and  withered.  The 

THE    FOREST   OF    ROCKINGHAM       255 

winter  store  of  "derefal"  wood  is  at  this  date  called  "dere- 

In  1638  the  chief  justice  in  eyre  issued  his  commission  to 
Edward  Sawyer,  of  Kettering,  Esq.,  giving  him  full  power  and 
authority  to  inquire  from  time  to  time  of  all  such  persons 
as  are  known  and  suspected  of  unlawfully  keeping  and  using 
dogs,  nets,  crossbows,  guns,  and  other  engines  for  the  de- 
struction of  the  game  in  Rockingham  forest.  He  was  com- 
missioned to  employ  a  constable  or  head  borough  to  search  for 
dogs,  etc.,  within  five  miles  of  Kettering,  and  to  take  into 
custody  suspected  persons  and  keep  them  till  further  in- 

On  the  last  occasion  when  a  great  store  of  venison  was 
brought  to  Whitehall,  "  against  Christmas,"  for  Charles  I., 
then  (1640)  on  the  threshold  of  his  troubles,  twenty-four  does 
came  from  Rockingham  ;  this  was  by  far  the  largest  number 
out  of  those  supplied  by  nineteen  different  forests  or  parks  ;  the 
only  other  two  that  reached  double  figures  were  Whittlewood 
and  New  Forest,  each  of  which  supplied  twelve. 

The  commissioners  appointed  by  the  1786  Act  for  inquiring 
into  the  state  of  woods  and  forests  belonging  to  the  Crown 
issued  an  elaborate  report  on  Rockingham  in  1792.  It  then 
consisted,  as  of  old,  of  the  three  separate  districts  or  bailiwicks 
of  Rockingham,  Brigstock,  and  Cliff,  each  of  which  were 
divided  into  two  or  more  walks.  In  Rockingham  were  Bene- 
field  Laund,  Vert  Walk,  and  the  woods  of  Gretton,  Little 
Weldon,  Weedhaw,  Thornhaw,  and  Corby  ;  in  Brigstock 
were  the  woods  of  Eddington  and  Earning  ;  and  in  Cliff  those 
of  Westhay,  Moorhay,  Sulehay,  and  Shortwood.  It  is  there 
stated  that  all  the  bailiwicks  were  formerly  under  one  warden 
or  master  forester,  an  office  granted  by  James  I.,  in  1603,  to 
Lord  Burleigh  for  three  lives ;  but  Charles  I.  abolished 
the  office,  and  gave,  in  1629,  the  master  forestership  of 
Rockingham,  with  Geddington  woods,  to  Edward  Lord 
Montague,  for  three  lives,  and  that  of  Cliff  to  trustees  for 
Mildmay,  Earl  of  Westmoreland,  for  three  lives.  In  1674  the 
wardenship  of  Earning  wood  was  granted  to  Sir  John 
Robinson  for  three  lives.  The  commissioners  of  1792  found 
that  Mr.  George  Finch  Hatton  was  warden  of  Rockingham, 
the  Earl  of  Ossory  of  Earning  wood,  the  Earl  of  Exeter 


of  Westhay,  and  the  Earl  of  Westmoreland  of  Moorhay, 
Sulehay,  and  Shortwood  ;  whilst  Geddington  woods,  which 
had  been  disafforested  in  1676,  had  been  granted  to  Lord 
Montague  and  his  heirs  for  ever. 

The  actual  woodlands  then  included  in  the  forest  were 
9,482  acres  ;  namely,  Rockingham  3,500,  Brigstock  1,400,  and 
Cliff  4,582  ;  but  most  of  them  were  private,  though  subject 
to  certain  forest  rights  and  burdens.  The  number  of  deer  must 
have  been  very  considerable,  for  upwards  of  100  bucks  and 
a  larger  number  of  does  were  annually  killed. 

The  two  swainmote  courts  that  used  to  be  held,  the  one  for 
Rockingham  and  Brigstock,  and  the  other  for  Cliff,  had  long 
since  come  to  an  end,  together  with  the  whole  array  of  minor 
forest  ministers,  and  the  forest  had  remained  chiefly  under  the 
care  of  the  hereditary  keepers  or  master  foresters.  In  1702 
it  was  found  that  the  Crown  could  claim  the  oak  timber  in 
Sulehay  woods,  and  over  2,000  trees  were  sold  between  1704 
and  1736,  yielding  a  net  revenue  of  £3,623. 

The  commissioners  came  to  the  conclusion  that : — 

"A  forest  in  a  situation  so  distant  from  any  residence  of  the  royal 
family,  with  an  establishment  of  officers,  either  granted  in  perpetuity 
or  esteemed  of  little  value  by  those  who  possess  them,  and  in  which 
so  little  of  the  right  to  timber  has  been  preserved,  can  neither  con- 
tribute much  to  the  amusement  of  the  king,  the  dignity  or  profit 
of  the  crown,  or  the  advantage  of  the  public." 

They  therefore  recommended  disafforestation,  and  the  sale 
to  the  owners  of  the  wood  of  any  rights  to  the  timber  that  the 
Crown  might  possess.  The  commissioners'  recommendations 
were  carried  into  law  by  Acts  of  1795  and  1/96. 

Lack  of  space  compels  the  entire  omission  of  the  accounts 
which  had  been  prepared  of  Salcey  and  Whittlewood  forests 
in  this  county. 


OXFORDSHIRE  from  the  earliest  days  was  exceptionally 
well  wooded.  The  whole  county  was  in  the  main  wood- 
land down  to  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries.  On 
the  north  of  Oxford  lay  the  chase  of  Woodstock,  which  merged 
on  the  forest  of  Wychwood  to  the  west ;  on  the  north-east, 
near  Bicester,  was  the  forest  of  Bernwood,  a  considerable 
section  of  which  was  in  this  county  ;  on  the  east  were  the 
adjacent  forests  of  Shotover  and  Stowood  ;  on  the  south-east 
were  the  wild  stretches  and  dense  backwoods  of  the  Chilterns  ; 
whilst  on  the  south  the  woods  of  Cumnor  and  Bagley  com- 
pleted the  circle.  It  was  doubtless  the  great  preponderance 
of  hunting  ground,  at  a  comparatively  short  distance  from 
London,  that  made  this  shire  so  favourite  a  resort  of  our 
Norman  kings.  Henry  I.,  in  order  to  secure  good  accommo- 
dation when  indulging  in  the  pleasures  of  the  chase,  built 
himself  an  important  house  at  Beaumont  on  the  north  side  of 
Oxford,  as  well  as  a  hunting-lodge  at  Woodstock.  This  royal 
lodge  was  surrounded  by  a  park  enclosed  within  a  stone  wall 
seven  miles  in  circuit,  and  is  said  to  have  been  the  first 
English  park  enclosed  with  this  material.  Here,  according  to 
William  of  Malmesbury,  the  king  established  a  menagerie  of 
foreign  beasts.  "He  was  extremely  fond  of  the  wonders  of 
distant  countries,  begging  with  great  delight  from  foreign 
kings,  lions,  leopards,  lynxes,  or  camels.  He  had  a  park 
called  Woodstock  wherein  he  used  to  foster  favourites  of  this 
kind  ;  he  had  placed  there  also  a  creature  called  a  porcupine, 
sent  to  him  by  William  of  Montpelier." 

Camden,  writing  in  Elizabethan  days,  was  much  impressed 
with   "the  great  store  of  woods"  that  covered  the  hills   of 
s  257 


Oxfordshire  ;  but  Plot,  in  his  Natural  History  of  the  county, 
written  shortly  after  the  Civil  War,  described  it  as  sadly  shorn 
during  those  troublous  times  of  its  ancient  glory. 

Oxfordshire,  strange  to  say,  is  destitute  of  a  county  history, 
and  the  story  of  its  woods  and  forests  is  as  yet  unwritten. 
The  material  for  an  interesting  monograph  on  this  subject 
is  fairly  abundant ;  all  that  can  here  be  attempted  is  to  give  a 
few  facts,  for  the  most  part  hitherto  unchronicled,  respecting 
the  two  royal  forests  of  Wychwood  and  Shotover  with  Sto- 
wood,  together  with  an  incidental  reference  or  two  to  Bern- 
wood  forest,  which  lay  chiefly  in  the  county  of  Buckingham. 

The  Close  Rolls  of  the  beginning  of  Henry  III.'s  reign 
supply  a  good  deal  of  fragmentary  information  about  the  two 
forests  of  Wychwood  and  Shotover.  Thomas  de  Langley 
was  at  that  time  master  forester-of-fee  for  Wychwood.  In 
1216  he  received  the  king's  command  to  permit  the  abbot 
of  the  Cistercian  house  of  Bruern  to  take  a  third  load  of  wood 
out  of  the  forest,  in  addition  to  the  two  loads  already  granted 
him.  In  the  following  year  Langley  was  instructed  to  allow 
William  de  Brewere  to  take  ten  wild  boars  and  ten  trees.  In 
1218  order  was  made  for  the  perambulation  of  the  forest,  in 
order  that  its  ancient  bounds  might  be  established  and  recent 
additions  disafforested.  The  Crown  interfered  in  1221  in 
order  that  there  might  be  due  agistment  of  pigs,  and  that  the 
owners  of  swine  within  the  forest  without  warrant  might  be 
presented  ;  these  instructions  were  issued  to  the  verderers, 
the  forester-of-fee,  and  the  agisters.  Wychwood  was  one 
of  the  royal  forests,  to  the  verderers  and  keepers  of  which 
special  orders  were  sent  by  letters  patent  as  to  the  extensive 
windfall  after  the  great  storm  of  1222.  Robert  Arsic  had  per- 
mission from  the  Crown  in  1223  to  hunt  the  fox  and  the  hare 
with  hounds  throughout  the  forest  of  Wychwood.  In  the 
same  year  Thomas  de  Langley  was  instructed  to  take  two 
wild  boars  (porcos  silvestres}^  and  to  transfer  them  to  the  royal 
park  of  Havering,  in  Essex.  About  the  like  date  the  keeper 
was  ordered  to  deliver  four  good  dry  roers,  two  of  which  were 
to  be  suitable  for  fuel,  to  the  prior  of  Lanthony.  In  1226 
Ernald  de  Bosco  was  granted  two  does  and  a  buck,  and  ten 
loads  of  dry  underwood  for  fuel  were  bestowed  upon  the 
hospital  of  St.  John  Baptist  at  Burford.  Ralph  Fitz-Nicholas 


obtained  three  oaks  in  1229  towards  the  building  of  his  houses 
at  Eston.  In  the  following  year  Earl  Ferrers  received  fifteen 
oaks  in  aid  of  his  manor  house  at  Stamford,  which  was  then 
being  rebuilt,  and  a  little  later  he  had  a  grant  of  five  does 
from  the  same  forest. 

On  yth  February  of  this  year,  Thomas  de  Langley,  the 
forester-of-fee,  paid  the  exceedingly  heavy  fine  of  £100  to  the 
king  that  he  might  be  quit  of  the  results  of  forest  trespasses, 
of  which  he  had  been  convicted  a  few  days  earlier,  namely,  on 
the  Feast  of  the  Purification,  before  John  de  Monemue  and  his 
associates,  justices  of  the  forest  pleas,  when  four  acres  of  land 
in  Wychwood,  given  him  by  King  John,  had  been  resumed 
by  the  Crown. 

At  the  time  when  these  pleas  were  being  held,  the  king 
commanded  John  de  Monemue  to  give  to  the  prior  of  Cold 
Norton  ten  dry  roers  for  his  hearth.  Two  years  later  it  was 
found  that  the  prior  had  never  received  this  wood,  and  a  re- 
newed order  to  the  same  effect  was  issued  to  Peter  de  Rivallis, 
chief  justice  of  the  forests. 

About  this  period  a  large  supply  of  fuel  wood  was  granted 
to  the  Dominicans  of  Oxford  and  to  the  hospital  of  St.  John 
Baptist,  Oxford,  and  five  oaks  to  John  de  Beauchamp. 

The  nuns  of  Godstowe  obtained  from  Henry  III.,  in  1231, 
the  tithe  of  all  deer  taken  in  this  forest,  whether  by  the  king 
hunting  in  person  or  otherwise. 

As  to  Shotover  forest,  orders  were  issued  to  the  keeper  and 
verderers  in  1222,  to  suffer  the  hospital  of  St.  Bartholomew, 
Oxford,  to  take  one  hundred  horseloads  of  dry  wood  for  fuel. 
In  the  following  year  twenty  tie-beams  (copulas}  were  ordered 
to  be  supplied  out  of  Shotover  forest  to  William,  the  chaplain 
of  the  Bishop  of  Winchester,  towards  the  repair  of  the  church 
of  St.  Budoc,  Oxford,  beneath  the  castle  ;  it  had  been  thrown 
down  for  strategic  purposes  during  the  recent  war.  In  the 
same  year,  1223,  the  necessary  timber  for  constructing  a  gaol 
at  Oxford  and  for  repairing  the  castle  was  obtained  from 
Shotover.  In  1229,  when  Peter  Mimekan  was  bailiff  of  Shot- 
over  forest,  George  de  Crancumbe  obtained  four  dry  leafless 
roers  for  fuel.  In  1230  there  was  an  order  which  throws  a  little 
light  on  the  vexed  question  of  the  nature  of  the  roer  or  robur ; 
at  all  events,  this  entry  on  the  Close  Rolls  seems  to  show  that 


there  was  a  distinct  recognition  of  the  difference  between  robur 
and  guerctis,  even  when  both  were  merely  intended  for  fuel  pur- 
poses. Nicholas  de  Farnham  had  had  a  grant  from  the  Crown 
of  four  roers  out  of  Shotover  forest  for  firing,  and  on  6th  April, 
1230,  Henry  III.  ordered  that,  if  this  grant  had  not  been 
executed,  four  oaks  for  fuel  (ad  focum  suum)  should  be  sub- 
stituted for  the  roers.  Fuel  wood  was  granted  from  Shotover 
in  the  same  year  to  the  hospital  of  St.  John  Baptist  at  Oxford. 
The  Bishop  of  Chichester  obtained  a  grant  in  the  next  year  of 
four  dry  roers  for  his  hearth  at  Oxford.  Another  interesting 
grant  of  1231  was  that  of  eleven  loads  of  fence  timber  to  Elias, 
chaplain  of  the  Earl  of  Cornwall,  to  enclose  his  church  of 

On  26th  June,  1231,  the  king,  at  the  instance  of  Ralph 
Archdeacon  of  Chester,  Richard  Archdeacon  of  Leicester, 
William  de  Thany  Archdeacon  of  the  East  Riding,  and  of 
the  Chancellor  of  Oxford,  and  the  whole  University,  granted 
that  Thomas  de  Compton,  Henry  de  Kinneton,  and  three 
others,  who  had  been  found  in  the  forest  of  Shotover  with 
bows  and  arrows,  and  had  for  that  trespass  been  arrested  and 
detained  in  the  king's  prison  at  Oxford,  should  be  set  at 
liberty,  and  issued  his  mandate  to  the  sheriff  of  Oxford  to 
that  effect. 

At  a  later  date  in  the  same  year,  thirteen  Shotover  trees 
were  supplied  to  the  Dominicans  of  Oxford  for  fuel  purposes. 

An  eyre  for  forest  pleas  was  held  at  Oxford,  before  William 
le  Breton  and  three  other  itinerant  justices,  which  opened  on 
24th  January,  1256.  At  this  eyre  the  pleas  of  the  forest  of 
Wychwood  and  Shotover  were  heard,  as  well  as  of  that  part 
of  the  forest  of  Bernwood  which  lay  in  Oxfordshire. 

The  Close  Rolls  of  Edward  I.  record  various  royal  gifts  from 
the  Oxfordshire  forests.  In  1276,  Philip  Mimekan,  keeper  of 
Shotover,  was  ordered  to  supply  Sir  Francis  de  Bononia,  LL.D., 
with  eight  oaks  and  their  loppings  for  his  fire  ;  and  at  the 
same  time  the  keeper  of  Bernwood  received  the  remarkable 
order  to  supply  Sir  Francis  with  two  young  bucks  and  four 
young  does,  together  with  four  live  hares  and  six  live  rabbits, 
to  be  placed  in  the  king's  garden  at  Oxford,  in  accordance 
with  a  verbal  promise  made  by  the  king  to  the  doctor.  The 
keeper  of  Wychwood  was  directed,  in  1277,  to  supply  both  the 


Archbishop  of  Canterbury  and  the  abbot  of  Bruern  with  six 
roers  a  piece  for  fuel.  In  the  following  year  four  bucks  were 
sent  from  Shotover,  as  the  king's  gift  to  Bartholomew  de 
Sutlegh  ;  in  1279,  the  abbot  of  Bruern  had  twelve  oaks  with 
their  strippings,  from  the  wood  of  Cornbury,  in  Wychwood 

In  1280,  six  live  does  were  sent  to  the  Earl  of  Lincoln  from 
Wychwood  to  help  to  stock  his  park  at  Middleton  ;  and  in 
1284,  eight  live  does  and  four  bucks  were  granted  to  Thomas 
de  Charlcote  towards  stocking  his  park  at  Hasele.  In  1281, 
six  bucks  were  given  from  this  forest  to  the  Earl  of  Warwick  ; 
in  1282,  six  bucks  apiece  to  the  Bishop  of  Worcester  and  to 
John  Lovel ;  and  in  1286,  twelve  more  bucks  to  John  Lovel. 
From  Shotover  forest,  six  bucks  were  given  in  1281  to  James 
de  Ispannia,  nephew  of  Queen  Eleanor,  the  king's  consort ;  and 
six  bucks  in  1283  to  Geoffrey  de  Lucy.  In  1288,  James  de 
Ispannia  obtained  three  bucks  from  Wychwood,  and  three 
from  Bernwood. 

Among  the  timber  grants  from  Wychwood  may  be  men- 
tioned fuel  trees  for  the  Dominican  friars  in  1281  ;  eighty  cart- 
loads of  brushwood  for  the  king's  fuel  in  1282  ;  fuel  trees  for 
Alphonsus  de  Ispannia,  another  of  the  queen's  kinsmen,  then 
at  the  schools  at  Oxford,  in  1285  >  and  timber  for  the  building 
of  the  church  of  the  Carmelite  friars  at  Oxford,  in  1286. 

The  Patent  Rolls  of  Edward  I.  also  supply  various  incidental 
references  to  the  Oxfordshire  forest.  In  1279,  the  king  par- 
doned Walter  de  Hanborough  for  taking  a  buck  in  Wychwood 
forest,  on  paying  a  mark  as  a  fine.  In  1281,  the  farm  of 
this  forest,  valued  at  £7  a  year,  was  assigned  as  part  of  the 
dower  of  Queen  Eleanor,  the  king's  mother.  In  the  same 
year  there  was  a  commission  to  deliver  Oxford  gaol  of  certain 
young  scholars,  who  were  in  custody  there  for  forest  trespasses 
in  Shotover. 

Licence  was  granted  in  1282  to  Richard  de  Wyliamescote, 
to  hold,  during  the  minority  of  the  heir  of  Thomas  de  Lang- 
ley,  deceased,  the  custody  of  the  forest  of  Wychwood. 

Mandate  was  issued  to  the  king's  foresters,  in  1283,  not  to 
implead  Edward  Earl  of  Cornwall,  the  king's  kinsman, 
touching  thirty-eight  bucks,  and  two  harts,  lately  taken  by 
him  with  the  king's  licence,  to  wit,  in  the  forest  of  Wychwood 


seven  bucks,  in  the  forest  of  Shotover  and  Stowood  seven 
bucks  and  two  harts,  in  the  forest  of  Bernwood  thirteen 
bucks,  and  in  the  forest  of  Whittlewood  eleven  bucks.  Ela, 
Countess  of  Warwick,  obtained  leave  in  1290,  to  have  a  cart- 
load of  dry  wood  daily,  by  view  of  the  foresters,  out  of  the 
forests  of  either  Wychwood  or  Bernwood. 

Mandate  was  issued  to  the  sheriff  of  Oxford  on  28th  June, 
1290,  not  to  molest  the  Bishop  of  Winchester,  or  his  minister, 
Philip  de  Hoyvill,  and  Master  William,  parson  of  the  church 
of  Witney,  or  other  ministers  of  his,  under  pretext  of  a  former 
writ  as  to  venison  and  assart  trespasses  in  the  bishop's  chases 
of  Witney  within  the  precinct  of  the  forest  of  Wychwood  ;.  for 
at  that  time  those  who  held  the  inquest  were  ignorant  of  the 
king's  charter  giving  the  bishop  and  his  ministers  licence  to 
take  venison  in  his  chases,  and  to  assart  wood  within  the 
metes  of  the  forest. 

John  de  Langley,  bailiff  of  the  forest  of  Wychwood,  in 
consideration  of  a  fine  of  twenty  marks  made  by  him  before 
Hugh  le  Despenser,  justice  of  the  forest,  in  the  presence  of  the 
treasurer  and  barons  of  the  Exchequer,  was  pardoned  in  1305 
of  all  trespasses  committed  by  him  in  his  bailiwick  within  the 
forest ;  the  bailiwick,  which  had  been  taken  by  the  justice  into 
the  king's  hands,  was  at  the  same  time  restored  to  him. 

Licence,  after  inquisition  held  by  Hugh  le  Despenser,  justice 
of  the  forest,  and  in  consideration  of  a  fine  of  100  marks,  made 
by  the  abbot,  was  granted  in  1307  to  the  abbey  of  Eynsham 
to  hold  the  woods  of  Eynsham  and  Charlbury,  within  the 
forest  of  Wychwood,  and  also  the  wood  of  Eton  within  Shot- 
over  forest,  quit  of  regard,  on  condition  that  the  venison  was 
well  kept,  and  the  covert  of  the  wood  of  Eton  was  not  de- 
stroyed. The  keepers  appointed  by  the  abbey  were  to  take 
oath  not  to  commit  venison  offences,  and  all  such  trespassers 
were  to  be  attached  by  the  king's  ministers  of  the  forest. 

Did  space  permit,  a  great  variety  of  references  to  foresters-of- 
fee,  to  official  appointments,  to  Crown  gifts,  and  to  summons 
for  regards  and  forest  pleas  could  be  cited  throughout  the 
fourteenth  and  fifteenth  centuries,  and  at  later  periods,  rela- 
tive to  the  Oxfordshire  forests,  chiefly  from  the  Patent  and 
Close  Rolls ;  but  we  are  not  aware  of  any  detailed  proceedings 
relative  to  eyres  or  forest  pleas  that  are  extant. 


There  is  a  fragment  at  the  Public  Record  Office  relative  to 
pleas  held  at  Headington  on  8th  August,  1465,  before  H. 
Bourchier,  itinerant  forest  justice  for  the  forests  of  Shotover 
and  Stowood.  All  that  is  extant  is  the  claim  made  by 
Sir  Edmund  Rede  to  be  keeper  of  these  forests,  in  company 
with  extensive  right  and  privileges. 

In  1468  Edward  Hardegill,  a  Crown  yeoman,  was  appointed 
ranger  of  Wychwood,  at  a  wage  of  6d.  a  day. 

Oxfordshire  affords  a  striking  example  of  the  attempt  to 
revive  strict  forest  jurisdiction  in  the  time  of  Charles  I. 

A  court  was  held  at  Headington  for  the  forests  of  Shotover 
and  Stowood  on  Qth  June,  1636,  before  the  foresters,  verderers, 
agisters,  regarders,  and  other  ministers  of  the  forest.  Henry 
Lord  Holland  was  keeper ;  Michael  Molines,  Esquire,  lieu- 
tenant ;  Sir  John  Crooke,  chief  ranger  ;  and  Sir  Henry  Crooke 
and  Unton  Crooke,  Esquire,  verderers.  There  were  three 
foresters,  one  for  the  Old  Lodge  walk  in  Shotover,  one  for 
the  New  Lodge  walk  in  Shotover,  and  the  third  for  Stowood. 
Edward  Whistler  was  woodward  for  the  whole  forest.  The 
twelve  regarders  have  all  "gen"  appended  to  their  names. 
There  were  also  present  two  gentlemen  keepers  (preservatores), 
two  agisters,  five  sub-foresters,  two  wardens  of  the  coppices, 
and  two  pages.  The  reeves  and  four  men  of  eleven  neigh- 
bouring townships  were  in  attendance  as  well  as  a  large 
number  of  free  tenants. 

At  the  head  of  the  presentments  of  1636  appears  the 
conviction  of  William  Willoughby,  shipwright,  for  having 
on  2Oth  June  felled  fifty  oaks,  each  of  the  value  of  20^.,  and 
exposed  them  for  sale  contrary  to  the  laws  and  assize  of  the 
forest ;  for  this  offence  the  very  substantial  fine  of  £2,000  was 
imposed.  The  same  delinquent  was  further  presented  and 
convicted  for  having,  on  23rd  June,  got  up  the  roots  of  these 
oaks,  each  valued  at  5^.  ;  for  this  offence  Willoughby  was  fined 
in  the  further  sum  of  £20.  The  next  presentment  and  con- 
viction was  against  two  husbandmen  of  Marston,  who  had 
felled  and  removed  an  oak  tree  worth  3^.  on  June  3rd  ;  the 
fine  in  this  case  was  £5.  Another  delinquent  was  fined  40.?. 
for  taking  an  ash  worth  6d.  The  fine  for  removing  three 
cartloads  of  ash,  worth  20^.,  was  £10.  There  were  several 
fines  of  2os.  for  taking  green  wood  to  the  value  o 


Among  the  venison  trespasses,  the  most  serious  was  that  of 
Roger  Gardiner,  who  for  killing  two  does  and  two  bucks  was 
fined  £100.  For  killing  a  doe  with  a  dog  called  "a 
Maungrell,"  John  Symondes  of  Headington  was  fined  ^5. 
William  Willoughby,  the  much-fined  shipwright,  incurred  a 
further  fine  of  £10  for  having  caught  a  fawn  in  a  sawpit. 
John  Wheston  was  fined  in  the  heavy  sum  of  £20  for  netting 

There  were  also  various  heavy  fines,  the  lowest  being  2cw., 
for  agistment  trespasses. 

In  twenty-five  cases  offenders  (one  of  whom  was  John 
Symondes  of  Headington)  were  released  at  the  close  of  the 
court  on  finding  recognisances  to  appear  at  the  next  pleas. 
The  first  of  these  was  Ellis  Mercer,  husbandman,  who  found 
two  sureties,  one  in  £20  and  the  other  in  £10  :  "The  condition 
is  That  if  the  said  Ellis  Mercer  do  appeare  at  the  next  Inter 
Foreste  or  Justice  Seate  for  this  Forest  to  bee  houlden,  and 
there  make  aunsweares  to  all  such  matters  as  on  his  Majesties 
behalf  shal  bee  objected  against  him  and  shall  not  departe 
the  said  Courte  without  Lycense,  and  in  the  meane  tyme  bee  of 
good  behaviour  to  his  Majesties  game  Virt  and  Venison  of  the 
same  forest,  That  then  the  said  Recognisances  to  bee  void, 
otherwise  be  rendyred  in  full  force." 

The  tenth  report  of  the  Commissioners  of  Woods  and 
Forests,  issued  in  1792,  is  chiefly  concerned  with  the  forest 
of  Wychwood.  Its  boundaries  at  that  date  were  the  same 
as  those  given  at  a  perambulation  taken  in  October,  1665, 
in  pursuance  of  an  Act  of  Parliament  of  the  previous  year, 
when  the  forest  area  was  very  greatly  restricted.  The  Com- 
missioners found  the  forest  enclosed  within  a  stone  wall.  The 
undergrowth,  divided  into  eighteen  coppices,  enclosed  for  a 
limited  time  after  each  cutting,  had  an  area  of  1,841  acres  ;  the 
lodges  with  their  launds,  127  acres;  and  the  open  ridings, 
woods,  and  unenclosed  waste  lands  1,741  acres— giving  a  total 
acreage  of  3,709.  Many  of  the  surrounding  parishes  and 
hamlets  had  rights  of  pasture.  The  offices  for  the  forest 
government  were  a  ranger,  a  launder  (to  take  care  of  the 
launds),  four  keepers,  two  verderers,  and  a  woodward.  There 
were  then  about  a  1,000  head  of  deer,  all  fallow;  the  numbers 
annually  killed  were  61  bucks  and  42  does,  of  which  6  bucks 


and  6  does  were  sent  to  the  king's  larder.  The  red  deer  had 
become  extinct  about  ten  years  previously.  The  Duke  of 
Marlborough  was  the  ranger.  The  trees  were  chiefly  oak  and 
ash,  with  a  small  admixture  of  elm,  beech,  sycamore,  lime, 
and  horse-chestnut.  The  browse  wood  cut  for  the  deer  in 
the  winter  was  in  the  main  of  thorn,  maple,  ash,  holly, 
and  ivy. 

At  the  time  of  this  commission,  through  jobbery  and 
recklessness,  almost  the  whole  of  the  fine  timber  of  old 
Wychwood  forest  had  disappeared.  The  Commissioners  were 
only  able  to  mention  173  oaks  as  fit  for  navy  purposes.  In 
1800,  when  Young  rode  through  the  district,  he  found  "  many 
very  beautiful  scenes,  particularly  where  the  nut  fair  is  held, 
a  glen  by  Mr.  Dacre's  lodge,  and  others  approaching  Bland- 
ford  Park,  with  vales  of  the  finest  turf,  but  not  one  very  fine 
tree  of  navy  oak  in  a  ride  of  sixteen  or  seventeen  miles." 
Wychwood  was  not  finally  enclosed  until  1862. 




IT  is  generally  stated  that  there  was  never  any  forest  in 
Berkshire  save  that  of  Windsor,  which,  with  its  purlieus, 
occupied  so  large  a  portion  of  the  eastern  section  of  the 
county.  But  the  fact  is  that  almost  the  whole  county  was 
forest,  that  is,  under  forest  laws,  in  the  earlier  part  of 
Henry  III.'s  reign.  In  1219,  when  there  was  a  general 
summons  of  forest  ministers  for  a  special  inquisition,  the 
foresters  and  verderers  of  the  forest  of  Berkshire  were  ordered 
to  meet  at  Reading.  In  1221  the  king  granted  custody  of  the 
forest  of  Berks  to  the  knights  and  free  tenants  residing  within 
its  bounds,  up  to  the  date  of  his  coming  of  age,  on  condition 
of  their  appointing  two  knights  who  were  to  answer  in  all 
things  pertaining  to  the  forest  the  chief  justice  of  the  king's 
forests,  according  to  the  customary  assize,  both  in  vert  and 
venison,  as  well  as  other  attachments,  and  in  verderers'  pre- 
sentments. They  were  also  to  see  to  a  regard  being  taken 
every  third  year.  The  bounds  of  the  forest  of  Berks  are  at 
the  same  time  set  forth  ;  they  began  at  Reading  at  the  place 
where  the  Kennet  falls  into  the  Thames  ;  thence  almost  due 
west  by  the  Kennet  to  the  place  (above  Padworth)  where  the 
Emborne,  or  Auburn,  then  spelt  "Aleburn,"  falls  into  the 
Kennet ;  thence  by  the  Emborne,  which  forms  the  boundary 
between  Herts  and  Hants,  to  Woodhay,  and  on  to  Inkpen  ; 
from  Inkpen  by  a  green  road  to  Chilton  Foliat ;  from  Chilton 
Foliat  along  the  boundary  between  Berks  and  Wilts  to  the 
river  "  Lenta"  ;  and  thence  by  the  banks  of  the  Lenta  to  the 
place  where  that  stream  falls  into  the  Thames  ;  and  thence  by 



the  Thames,  round  the  Oxfordshire  borders  of  Berks,  back 
again  to  the  inflow  of  the  Kennet  at  Reading. 

Maps  and  records  of  all  kinds  have  been  consulted  in  vain 
in  the  endeavour  to  identify  the  name  Lenta  ;  but  it  seems 
practically  certain  that  it  was  an  early  name  for  the  river  or 
stream  long  known  as  the  Cole,  which  forms  for  several  miles 
the  boundary  between  Berks  and  Wilts,  passing  by  Coleshill ; 
it  falls  into  the  Thames  near  Inglesham  at  the  extreme  north- 
west of  the  county.  It  thus  follows  that  practically  the  whole 
of  Berks  was  at  this  time  under  forest  jurisdiction  ;  for  the 
part  to  the  east  of  Reading  and  the  Kennet  came  within  the 
forest  district  of  Windsor,  or,  as  it  was  then  occasionally 
called,  the  forest  of  Oakingham  or  Wokingham. 

All  of  Berkshire  save  the  Windsor  district  was  soon  after- 
wards disafforested. 


The  western  part  of  the  county  was  occupied  by  part  of  the 
forest  of  Bernwood,  on  the  confines  of  Oxfordshire,  whilst 
part  of  the  Northamptonshire  forests  of  Whittlewood  and 
Salcey  overlapped  its  northern  boundary.  Early  in  Henry  III.'s 
reign  mention  is  made  on  several  occasions  of  the  forest  of 
Buckinghamshire ;  but  it  was  evidently  the  term  used  for 
those  parts  of  the  county  attached  to  the  forests  just  named. 

King  John  gave  to  the  canons  of  the  abbey  of  Nutley  the 
right  to  use  freely  two  carts  to  obtain  firewood  throughout  the 
forest  of  Bernwood  between  Easter  and  All  Saints,  save 
during  the  fence  month,  and  this  right  was  confirmed  by 
Henry  III.  in  1228  and  in  1230.  In  1229  Ralph  Briton 
obtained  the  royal  licence  to  hunt  with  running  dogs  the  hare 
and  the  fox  throughout  the  whole  forest  bailiwick  of  Hugh  de 
Neville,  in  the  counties  of  Bucks  and  Northants.  The  forest 
of  Brill,  though  generally  known  in  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth 
centuries  by  the  separate  title,  was  more  usually  considered 
part  of  the  forest  of  Bernwood.  It  was  part  of  the  demesnes 
of  the  Crown,  and  tradition  has  it  that  Brill  was  a  residence  of 
Edward  the  Confessor.  Henry  II.  held  his  court  here  in  1160, 
and  Henry  III.  in  1224.  Brill  forest  was  well  supplied  with 
fallow  deer ;  fourteen  does  from  here  were  amongst  the  king's 
venison  gifts  in  1229.  Out  of  this  forest,  in  1231,  Henry  III. 


gave  fourteen  dead  trees  for  fuel  to  the  Friars  Minor  of 

Forest  pleas  were  held  in  1229,  when  Bucks  was  associated 
for  that  purpose  with  Hunts.  In  November,  1255,  four  forest 
justices  held  pleas  at  Buckingham  for  the  parts  of  the  forests 
of  Bernwood  and  Whittlewood  which  were  in  that  county. 
In  the  following  January  the  same  justices  were  at  Oxford, 
hearing  the  pleas  for  that  part  of  Bernwood  which  lay  in 
Oxfordshire,  together  with  the  forests  of  Wychwood  and 

In  August,  1266,  as  set  forth  by  Mr.  Turner  in  Forest 
Pleas,  an  inquisition  was  held  at  Hartley,  in  Bernwood  forest, 
concerning  the  bailiwick  of  John  the  son  of  Nigel,  which  he 
held  in  that  forest  by  hereditary  right,  as  the  king  wished  to 
be  certified  as  to  his  rights,  customs,  and  services.  The  jury 
certified  that  he  held  by  hereditary  right  the  bailiwick  of  this 
forest  from  the  Stonyford  as  far  as  a  certain  water,  called  the 
"Burne,"  running  between  Steeple  Claydon  and  Padbury  ; 
and  that  he  had  the  rights  of  cheminage,  of  after  pannage,  of 
all  nuts,  of  dead  wood,  and  of  the  loppings  and  roots  of  all 
trees  given  or  sold  or  taken  for  his  own  use  by  the  king.  Two 
other  rights  are  sufficiently  interesting  to  be  set  forth  in  detail. 

"  He  has  and  he  ought  of  hereditary  right  to  have  throughout  the 
aforesaid  bailiwick  trees  felled  by  the  wind,  which  is  called  cablish 
(chableiz),  and  that  in  the  form  underwritten,  to  wit,  that  if  the  wind 
fells  ten  trees  in  one  night  and  one  day,  the  lord  king  will  have  them 
all ;  but  if  the  wind  fells  less  than  ten  trees  in  one  night  and  one  day, 
the  aforesaid  John  the  son  of  Nigel  will  have  them  all." 

"  Also  this  same  John  has  of  right  by  reason  of  the  same  bailiwick 
all  attachments  and  issues  of  attachments  made  of  small  thorns,  to 
wit,  of  such  a  thorn  as  cannot  be  perforated  by  an  augur  (tarrerd) 
which  is  called  '  Restnauegar.' ' 

The  last  clause  of  the  verdict  of  this  inquest  was  to  the 
effect  that  John  had  to  guard  the  bailiwick  of  all  the  forest 
in  return  for  these  privileges,  and  also  to  make  an  annual  pay- 
ment to  the  king  of  40^. 


In  the  early  Norman  days  the  greater  part  of  Huntingdon- 
shire was  under  forest  law,  but  this  was  restricted,  even  in 


Henry  II. 's  time,  to  the  districts  west  and  north  of  the  county 
town,  generally  known  as  the  forest  or  forests  of  Weybridge 
and  Sapley.  Mr.  Turner,  in  Pleas  of  the  Forest  (74-9),  has 
reproduced  interesting  matter  relative  to  Huntingdonshire 
forest  inquisitions  of  the  years  1248-53,  with  regard  to 
cases  of  venison  trespass  presented  by  the  foresters  and 
verderers  of  Weybridge  and  Sapley. 

Pleas  of  the  forest  were  also  held  in  June,  1255,  before 
William  le  Breton,  Nicholas  de  Romsey,  Geoffrey  de  Lewk- 
nor,  and  Simon  de  Thorpe,  justices  in  eyre.  The  roll  of  this 
eyre  is  of  special  interest,  and  has  been  reproduced  and 
translated  by  Mr.  Turner  (Pleas  of  the  Forest,  1 1-26).  The 
following  is  one  of  the  more  striking  cases  : — 

"It  is  presented  by  the  foresters  and  verderers  that  it  is  proved 
by  an  inquisition  of  the  towns  of  Alconbury,  Weston,  Great  Stukeley 
and  Little  Stukeley,  that  a  certain  Gervais  a  man  of  John  of  Crake- 
hall  was  seen  at  night  in  the  forest,  for  the  purpose  of  evil  doing  with 
unknown  evil  doers,  with  greyhounds,  bows  and  arrows.  And  after- 
wards the  same  Gervais  was  found  carrying  the  harness  of  his  lord, 
John  of  Crakehall,  within  the  court  of  the  granges  of  the  priory  of 
Huntingdon,  and  was  there  taken  by  the  foresters  and  put  in  the 
prison  of  Huntingdon.  And  upon  this  came  Walter,  the  vicar  of  the 
church  of  St.  Mary  of  Huntingdon,  and  other  chaplains  of  the  same 
town,  whose  names  are  not  known,  and  William  of  Leicester,  a 
servant  of  the  bishop  of  Lincoln.  And  they  took  the  said  Gervais 
from  prison  as  a  clerk,  and  led  him  away  with  them.  And  now  the 
same  Gervais  does  not  come  ;  and  therefore  Master  Roger  of  Raven- 
ingham,  archdeacon  of  Huntingdon,  who  is  present,  is  ordered  to 
have  the  said  Walter  the  vicar  and  the  others  before  the  justices  on 
Sunday  etc.  At  that  day  came  the  said  Master  Roger,  and  brought 
Walter  the  vicar,  who  says  that  when  the  said  Gervais  was  taken  and 
imprisoned  as  aforesaid,  he  came  with  his  fellow  chaplains  and 
admonished  them  that  they  should  deliver  the  same  Gervais  from 
prison,  and  restore  him  to  holy  Church  on  the  ground  that  he  was  a 
clerk.  And  the  foresters,  fearing  excommunication,  permitted  him 
to  depart  and  did  nothing  else.  And  the  said  Walter  was  told  that 
he  took  out  of  prison,  and  carried  away  the  aforesaid  Gervais  against 
the  peace  and  by  force.  And,  being  asked  how  he  wished  to  acquit 
himself,  he  says  that  he  will  not  answer  in  this  court ;  therefore  the 
foresters  and  verderers  are  asked  whether  the  said  Walter  and  the 
others  carried  away  the  same  Gervais  from  the  prison  or  whether 


the  foresters,  fearing-  an  ecclesiastical  sentence,  of  their  own  will  per- 
mitted him  to  depart.  They  say,  that  William  of  Leicester  and 
Walter  and  the  others  came  to  the  foresters  with  books  and  candles 
meaning-  to  excommunicate  them  if  they  did  not  deliver  the  aforesaid 
Gervais  from  prison,  and  they  said  they  had  not  power  to  deliver  him. 
And  then  William  and  the  others  went  to  the  prison  and  dragged  out 
and  carried  away  the  same  Gervais.  And  Master  Roger  comes  and 
demands  the  said  Walter  as  his  chaplain,  and  he  was  delivered 
to  him  convicted  of  the  aforesaid  deed.  And  afterwards  comes  the 
said  Gervais;  and  it  is  proved  by  the  foresters  and  verderers,  that  he 
is  an  evil  doer  to  the  venison.  And  the  aforesaid  Master  Roger 
demands  him  as  a  clerk  ;  and  he  is  delivered  to  him  as  a  manifest 
evil  doer,  and  one  convicted  of  this.  And  because  John  of  Crakehall 
harboured  this  Gervais  after  that  deed,  and  he  still  stands  by  him, 
therefore  he  is  in  mercy." 

Another  venison  case  at  this  eyre  was  that  of  Michael  of 
Debenham,  who  killed  a  buck  in  a  field  with  an  axe,  was  taken 
by  the  forest  steward  to  the  sheriff,  and  imprisoned  at  Hunting- 
don. The  sheriff  was  called  to  judgment  for  the  escape,  but 
he  was  dead.  When  Michael  escaped  from  prison,  John  of 
Debenham  harboured  him,  therefore  John  was  in  mercy. 
Also  Richard  of  Stilton  saw  Michael  kill  the  buck  and  did  not 
raise  the  hue ;  he  was  attached  under  pledges,  but  he  is  dead. 
And  because  the  townships  of  Yoxley,  Folksworth,  Stilton, 
and  Morborne  did  not  make  inquisition,  therefore  they  were 
in  mercy. 

There  was  also  a  curious  case  of  clerical  trespass  before  the 
justices.  A  chaplain  and  seven  clerks  were  found  on  the  king's 
road  in  the  forest  with  bows  and  arrows.  They  were  taken  on 
suspicion  by  the  foresters  before  the  steward,  who  retained 
them  for  a  time  in  prison,  and  then  handed  them  over  to  the 
sheriff,  who  imprisoned  them  at  Cambridge.  Afterwards  they 
were  delivered  by  the  justices  in  eyre  at  Huntingdon  to  the 
Bishop  of  Lincoln,  as  clerks.  Simon  of  Houghton,  then 
sheriff,  neglected  to  inform  the  justices  that  the  clerks  were 
arrested  for  an  evil  deed  and  trespass,  therefore  the  justices  of 
1255  pronounced  him  in  mercy  ;  and  the  verderer  to  whom 
the  bows  and  arrows  were  delivered  to  take  them  before 
the  justices  was  also  in  mercy  because  he  then  had  them  not. 

There  were  also  various  other  instances  of  men  apprehended 


with  greyhounds  in  the  forest  ;  but  the  most  serious  case 
before  this  eyre  was  that  of  Richard  Weston,  a  servant  of  the 
abbot  of  Waltham,  and  William  and  Bartholomew  Turkil,  of 
Whittlesey,  men  of  the  homage  of  the  prior  of  Ely,  who, 
with  five  other  unknown  men,  took  forty  roe  deer  in  the  marsh 
of  Kings  Delph,  on  iyth  December,  1254,  by  order  of  brother 
Gervais  of  Arlesay,  of  the  abbey  of  Waltham,  who  harboured 

At  a  swainmote  held  at  Weybridge  at  Michaelmas,  1451, 
before  John  Collam  and  Richard  Est,  verderers,  John  Ilger, 
John  Roper,  and  William  Mernyk,  foresters,  said  on  their 
oath  that  they  had  no  presentments  to  make.  There  was  a  like 
result  to  the  swainmote  held  at  the  following  Martinmas.  In 
the  following  year  there  was  only  a  single  presentment  at  the 
Midsummer  swainmote,  when  a  husbandman  was  convicted  of 
killing  a  fawn  with  a  noose  (cordulo);  whilst  at  the  Michaelmas 
swainmote  there  was  again  only  one  presentment,  namely,  of 
another  husbandman  who  had  killed  a  doe  with  a  "curdogge." 
The  two  next  swainmotes  were  virgin  sessions.  At  Michael- 
mas, 1454,  it  was  reported,  as  the  sole  business,  that  an 
unknown  person  had  killed  a  fawn  with  a  greyhound.  The 
swainmote  of  Midsummer,  1455,  affords  an  instance  of  a  rough 
method  of  night  poaching  adopted  in  this  forest.  Three 
husbandmen  were  convicted  of  having  placed  at  night  a  cart- 
rope  and  two  small  cords  above  the  cartrope  in  such  a  position 
as  to  take  the  wild  beasts  of  the  king  ;  the  foresters  confiscated 
the  ropes.  The  actual  words  are — unum  cartrope  cum  duobus 
cordulis  vocatis  guarys  super  eundem  cartrope.  The  word 
guarys  was  probably  a  local  pronunciation  of  the  term  gear, 
implying  small  ropes  used  as  a  rough  kind  of  harness.  A 
snare  of  this  kind  most  likely  consisted  of  a  strong  rope 
stretched  near  the  ground  in  a  deer  path  to  cause  the  deer  to 
trip,  with  nooses  suspended  above  to  catch  their  heads. 

At  this  last  swainmote  the  foresters  reported  before  the 
verderers  that  the  beasts  of  the  king  (deer)  were  dying  every 
day  of  the  murrain,  and  that  about  sixty  fawns,  by  a  careful 
estimate,  had  been  killed  by  foxes  and  other  vermin  since  the 
previous  court  which  had  been  held  at  Martinmas. 

On  the  back  of  the  membrane  recording  these  Weybridge 
swainmotes,  diverse  warrants  for  the  delivery  of  timber 


addressed  in  English  to  the  verderers  are  cited.  They  were 
issued  by  Richard  Devyle,  Esquire,  supervisor  of  the  forest  of 
Weybridge,  and  on  the  margin  is  written,  "By  the  Quene." 
The  following  is  an  example  :— 

"  Welebelovyd,  we  Wil  and  charge  yowe  that  on  to  cure  welebelovyd 
William  Prudde  ye  delyver  a  Oak  to  be  takyn  within  oure  forest  of 
Wabryg  of  our  geft  and  these  oure  lettres  shal  be  unto  you  sufficiant 
Warrant  geven  under  oure  signet  at  Wyndesore  the  xxix  day  of  Juyn 
the  yere  of  my  lord  xxxii." 

The  like  form  is  used  for  the  delivery  of  deer.  Of  the  eight 
warrants  of  this  year,  one  was  issued  immediately  by  the 
queen,  and  begins  "  Margarite  by  the  grace  of  Godde  Quene 
of  Ingland  and  of  Fraunse  and  lady  of  Irland,  daughter  of 
the  kyng  of  Sicile  and  Jerusalem  to  the  kepers  of  our  forest  of 

The  rolls  of  the  swainmote  court  held  at  Weybridge  in 
Easter  term,  1503,  include  the  following  memorandum  :— 

"  Md  that  it  is  said  that  there  was  felled  and  sold  this  last  yere  past 
by  Gerard  Stukeley  400  tymbre  trees  of  the  grettist  and  best  that 
were  in  the  said  forest  by  what  Warrant  it  is  unknowen. 

"  Also  it  is  said  that  there  was  sold  the  said  yere  an  huge  nombre 
of  loodes  of  fyrewood  about  400  by  estimation  and  without  warrant 
as  is  said." 

"  There  had  bene  gret  sale  made  this  yere  past  in  the  Forest  of 
Sapley  to  the  som  of  Twenty  pounds  or  xxxu  by  estimation  and 
rather  above. 

"Also  it  is  said  that  there  shalbe  a  sale  made  in  Sapley  this  yere 
next  comeyng  by  the  said  Gerard  withoute  a  Restraynt  be  had." 

Gerard  Stukeley's  reply  to  these  charges  was  to  the  effect 
that  the  king's  lodge  of  the  forest  of  Weybridge  was  "  ruy- 
nous  and  in  grete  decay "  ;  that  the  verderers  assigned  48 
trees  to  him  for  its  repair  to  the  value  of  .£4 ;  that  Sir  John 
Sapcotes,  deceased,  the  late  warden,  to  whom  the  underwood 
belonged  by  reason  of  his  office,  ordered  him  during  his  life- 
time to  cut  and  dispose  of  it,  which  he  did  to  the  extent  of 
under  100  loads;  that  since  the  king  had  been  pleased,  "at 
the  speciall  instance  of  the  noble  pryncesse  moder  to  our  seid 
sovereigne  lord,"  to  appoint  him  warden  of  Sapley,  he  had 


caused  the  underwood  to  be  felled  "accordyng  to  the  auncient 
custom  there  used  oute  of  tyme  of  mynde." 

Information  was  at  the  same  time  laid  against  John  Stukeley, 
son  of  the  keeper  of  Weybridge,  that  he  had  felled  trees  to  the 
value  of  £40,  without  warrant  or  authority,  as  well  as  under- 
wood to  the  value  of  £20.  In  his  answer,  John  Stukeley  stated 
that  he  had  neither  felled  nor  sold  any  forest  trees,  save  (on 
the  warrant  of  Gerard  Stukeley)  those  assigned  to  himself  and 
other  keepers  as  their  wages  and  fees,  and  those  required  by 
the  verderers  for  the  repair  of  the  lodge  ;  and  that  as  to  under- 
wood he  neither  felled  nor  sold  any,  save  "certeyn  browsyng- 
wode  felled  for  the  kinges  deer  there  this  last  hard  wynter  for 
the  salvation  of  the  kinges  game  there,  which  said  browsyng- 
wode  belongeth  to  the  master  forester  as  in  ryght  of  hys 


THE  history  of  this  important  forest  has  received  far 
more  attention  at  the  hands  of  local  historians 
than  has  usually  been  the  case  with  the  ancient  wastes 
of  other  counties.  In  Atkyn's  Ancient  and  Present  State 
of  Gloucestershire  (1768),  it  is  accounted  the  third  in  size  of 
the  forty-eight  ancient  forests  of  England,  and  a  fair  outline 
of  its  history  is  given.  This  account  is  materially  supple- 
mented in  Rudder's  New  History  of  Gloucestershire  (1779), 
and  was  further  followed  up  in  Bigland's  Historical  Collections 
(1741).  The  third  report  (115  folio  pages)  of  the  Commis- 
sioners of  Woods  and  Forests,  1783-97,  is  almost  wholly  given 
up  to  the  consideration  of  Dean  Forest.  Many  of  these  facts 
are  to  be  found  in  Fosbroke's  Record  of  Gloucestershire 
(1807).  The  Rev.  H.  G.  Nicholls,  in  1858,  published  an 
An  Historical  and  Descriptive  Account  of  the  Forest  of  Dean, 
which  covered  286  pages,  and  to  this  he  added,  in  1863,  a 
supplementary  volume  on  The  Personalities  of  the  forest  of 
Dean,  containing  much  fresh  information. 

There  is  still,  however,  so  large  an  amount  of  unused 
material  extant  with  regard  to  the  history  of  this  forest,  that  a 
monograph,  which  promises  to  be  of  an  exhaustive  character, 
is  now  (1905)  in  course  of  preparation.  All  that  can  be  here 
attempted  is  to  give  a  very  brief  outline  of  the  forest  annals, 
citing  a  variety  of  information  that  has  not  hitherto  been 

The  forest  of  Dean  forms  a  considerable  division  in  the 
west  of  Gloucestershire,  and  comprises  about  30,000  acres 
between  the  rivers  Severn  and  Wye.  Of  its  great  dimensions 
Michael  Drayton  thus  sings  in  his  Polyolbion : — 


THE    FOREST   OF   DEAN  275 

Queen  of  forests  all  that  west  of  Severn  lie, 

Her  broad  and  bushy  top  Dean  holdeth  up  so  high, 
The  lesser  are  not  seen,  she  is  so  tall  and  large. 

It  derives  its  name  from  Dean,  the  old  market  town  of  that 
name  within  the  forest  bounds.  The  tithes  of  the  forest 
venison  were  granted  by  Henry  I.  to  the  abbey  of  Gloucester. 
Henry  II.  granted  to  the  abbey  of  Flaxley,  founded  in  1140, 
the  right  to  have  two  forges  for  the  making  of  iron  in  the 
forest,  one  stationary  and  the  other  itinerant.  For  the  feeding 
of  these  forges  the  abbey  was  allowed  two  trees  every  week. 
The  keepership  of  the  forest  was  usually  associated  with  the 
custody  of  the  castle  of  St.  Briavel,  which  is  said  to  have 
been  built  by  Milo,  Earl  of  Hereford,  in  the  reign  of 
Henry  I. 

The  restless  King  John,  as  is  shown  from  his  itinerary,  was 
frequently  sojourning  in  the  forest  between  the  years  1207  and 
1214,  doubtless  for  purposes  of  the  chase;  he  generally  stopped 
a  day  or  two  both  at  the  abbey  of  Flaxley  and  the  castle  of 
St.  Briavel  during  his  visits.  In  February,  1215,  when  staying 
at  Maryborough,  he  directed  Hugh  de  Nevill  to  permit  William 
de  Cliff  to  take  four  hinds  in  the  forest  of  Dean,  and  John  de 
Monmouth  and  Walter  de  Lasey  three  each.  In  June,  1216, 
the  king  appointed  John  de  Monmouth  to  the  custody  of  the 
castle  of  St.  Briavel  and  to  the  keepership  of  the  forest,  and 
directed  the  verderers,  foresters,  and  other  officials  to  submit 
themselves  to  him  as  the  king's  bailiff.  Two  months  later 
John  instructed  the  newly-appointed  keeper  to  find  everything 
that  was  necessary  for  Alberic,  his  huntsman,  with  twelve  dogs, 
two  horses,  two  grooms,  and  a  berner. 

On  3oth  September,  1216,  John  wrote  from  Lincoln  to  the 
constable  of  St.  Briavel,  ordering  that  cattle  were  only  to  be 
agisted  on  the  fringes  of  the  forest,  and  not  in  the  forest 
itself,  nor  in  those  places  frequented  by  the  wild  boars  (porci 

The  Close  Rolls  of  Henry  III.  abound  in  references  to  this 
great  Gloucestershire  waste,  but  lack  of  space  prevents  the 
majority  of  these  cases  being  cited  here. 

Boar  hunting  at  this  period  was  sufficiently  important  for 
Henry  III.  to  grant  in  1226  a  tithe  of  the  boars  thus  killed  to 


the  abbey  of  Gloucester.  In  December  of  that  year  the  king 
was  hunting  here  in  person,  and  he  instructed  Roger  de 
Clifford  to  hand  over  to  the  sheriff  of  Gloucester,  for  due  con- 
veyance, five  great  boars,  fifteen  hinds,  and  the  rest  of  the 
results  of  the  royal  hunt.  In  the  summer  of  the  following 
year  the  king  was  supplied  with  ten  harts  from  this  forest.  In 
July,  1231,  when  John,  the  huntsman,  was  taking  harts  for  the 
king's  use  at  Dean,  he  was  ordered  to  dispatch  a  hart  without 
delay  to  Eleanor,  the  king's  cousin.  From  these  and  many 
later  entries  it  is  quite  clear  that  the  red  deer  largely  predomi- 
nated in  Dean  forest  during  the  first  half  of  the  thirteenth 
century,  though  there  was  a  small  admixture  of  fallow  deer ; 
but  the  proportions  were  reversed  before  the  time  Edward  I. 
came  to  the  throne. 

The  regulations  with  regard  to  the  forges  of  this  forest  for 
iron-making  were  frequent,  stringent,  and  changeable.  The 
necessity  for  limiting  them  arose  from  the  quantity  of  fuel  they 
required.  The  manor  of  Cantelupe  had  early  chartered  right 
to  an  itinerant  forge,  and  endeavours  were  made  from  time  to 
time  to  confine  its  consumption  to  dry  or  wind-fallen  wood. 
In  1228  the  king  gave  orders  that  there  were  not  to  be  more 
than  three  itinerant  forges  worked  by  the  royal  servants.  In 
the  following  year  the  abbot  of  Faxley  was  ordered  to  confine 
his  itinerant  forge  to  the  thorn  thickets  (spissitudinibus}  on 
the  confines  of  the  forest.  So  much  difficulty  arose  from  the 
abbey's  insistence  on  its  old  chartered  rights  to  two  forges, 
that  in  1244  the  Crown  compromised  the  matter  by  the  hand- 
some grant  of  872  acres  of  woodland  in  exchange  for  the 
charter's  surrender. 

In  1225  Henry  III.  granted  a  recluse,  or  hermit,  named 
Panye  de  Lench,  four  acres  of  land  in  the  forest  and  two  oaks 
wherewith  to  build  himself  a  house. 

It  is  stated  in  Nicholls'  history  of  this  forest  that  the  first  re- 
corded perambulation  took  place  in  the  reign  of  Edward  I., 
but  this  is  an  error.  A  perambulation  was  undertaken  by  an 
inquest  of  twelve  knights  in  1228,  with  the  result  that  the 
bounds  were  declared  to  be  the  same  as  in  the  days  of 
Henry  II.  The  forest  occupied  the  whole  peninsula  ground 
between  the  Wye  and  the  Severn,  proceeding  north-east  as 
far  as  Newent,  and  north  as  far  as  Ross,  save  that  the  Bishop 

THE    FOREST   OF    DEAN  277 

of  Hereford  had  a  chase  in  the  wood  of  Laxpeniard,  and  the 
Earl  Marshal  a  warren  at  Tudenham. 

Forest  pleas  were  held  in  1258  and  again  in  1270.  The  next 
eyre  was  in  10  Edward  I.,  when  the  bounds  of  28  Henry  III. 
were  confirmed.  At  that  date  there  were  nine  bailiwicks  in  the 
forest,  each  under  the  charge  of  an  hereditary  forester-in-fee, 
and  all  subordinate  to  the  constable  of  St.  Briavel,  who  was  the 
keeper,  or  master  forester,  of  the  whole.  He  also  had  the 
special  charge  of  the  tenth  bailiwick  of  Rywardyn.  The  nine 
other  bailiwicks  and  their  respective  foresters  were  Abbenhalle, 
under  Ralph  de  Abbenhalle  ;  Blakeney,  under  Walter  de 
Astune ;  Bleythe,  under  Ralph  Hatheway ;  Berse,  under 
William  Wodeard  ;  Bicknoure,  under  Cecilia  de  Michegros  ; 
the  Lea,  under  Nicholas  de  Lacu  ;  Great  Dean,  then  in  the 
hands  of  the  king  ;  Little  Dean,  under  Ralph  de  Abbenhalle  ; 
and  Stauntene,  under  Richard  de  la  More.  The  verderers  were 
four  in  number,  and  elected,  as  elsewhere,  by  the  freeholders 
for  life,  but  removable  by  the  Crown. 

Of  these  pleas  of  the  forest  of  Dean,  which  were  held  at 
Gloucester  in  the  octave  of  St.  Hilary,  1282,  before  Luke  de 
Thany,  Adam  Gurdun,  Richard  de  Crepping,  and  Peter  de 
Lench,  justices,  exceptionally  long  details  are  extant.  The 
first  membrane  is  taken  up  with  twenty-seven  essoins  de  morte, 
established  in  each  case  by  the  appearance  of  the  heir,  near 
relative,  or  some  other  responsible  person;  and  with  the  names 
of  fifty-eight  persons  who  surrendered  themselves  on  the  first 
day  of  the  session  for  venison  trespasses,  ten  for  vert  tres- 
passes, and  two  for  heath-burning.  Fines,  varying  from 
\2.d.  to  40^.  were  imposed  on  upwards  of  seventy  persons  for 
non-appearance.  Among  the  vert  presentments  were  charges 
of  taking  timber  for  sale  by  boat  to  Bristol,  and  a  few  cases  of 
charcoal  burning. 

The  presentments  of  venison  trespasses  were  very  numerous; 
they  cover  both  sides  of  eight  long  membranes.  They  are 
arranged  chronologically,  beginning  in  1271,  after  the  last 
eyre,  when  the  Earl  of  Warwick  was  keeper  of  the  forest,  and 
continuing  through  the  keepership  of  Philip  Wyther  and 
Walter  de  Snape  up  to  the  year  of  the  eyre. 

The  great  majority  of  the  cases  are  concerned  with  fallow 
deer,  but  in  a  few  cases  the  killing  of  red  deer,  and  in  two 


instances  roe  deer  are  recorded.  Boats  on  the  river  were  much 
used  by  venison  as  well  as  vert  trespassers. 

The  regard  of  the  forest,  which  had  been  taken  in  prepara- 
tion for  the  eyre,  is  set  forth  in  great  detail  on  six  membranes 
— the  old  and  new  assarts,  the  old  and  new  purprestures,  and 
the  survey  and  destruction  of  woods.  In  the  last  case  it  was 
presented  that  the  wood  of  chestnuts  had  much  deteriorated 
since  the  last  eyre,  through  the  bad  custody  of  Ralph  Abben- 
hall,  the  forester-in-fee  of  the  baily  of  Abbenh^.11.  The  re- 
garders  found  there  thirty-four  stumps  of  chestnuts  that  had 
recently  been  felled,  of  which  Roger  de  Clifford,  the  justice, 
had  had  two  for  making  tables.  A  wood  of  sweet  chestnuts 
was  a  great  rarity  in  England,  and  evidently  much  prized. 
When  Henry  II.  founded  Flaxley  abbey,  he  gave  the  monks  the 
tithes  of  the  chestnuts  of  Dean.  The  old  name  for  Flaxley,  as 
mentioned  in  the  foundation  charter,  was  the  valley  of  Castiard, 
a  place-name  probably  derived  from  the  presence  of  the  chest- 
nut trees.  The  vert  presentments  of  this  eyre  show  that  the 
chestnut,  from  its  rarity,  was  about  three  times  the  value  of  the 
oak,  namely,  8s.  a  tree. 

The  regarders  also  reported  as  to  the  boats  owned  by  the 
tenants,  which  were  so  often  used  for  the  illegal  exporting  of 
wood  and  timber.  The  regarders  estimated  the  damage  done 
to  the  king  by  each  boat  in  sums  varying  from  half  a  mark  to 
forty  shillings.  These  sums,  with  a  usual  additional  fine  of 
i2d.,  were  exacted  by  the  justices. 

This  highly  interesting  roll  of  forest  pleas,  one  of  the 
fullest  extant,  which  specially  deserves  being  printed  in  extenso, 
concludes  with  long  lists  of  mainpernors  or  the  givers  of  bail, 
and  with  statements  of  claims  to  liberties  and  the  names  of  the 
attorneys  by  whom  they  were  supported. 

At  the  time  of  this  eyre  there  were  found  to  be,  according  to 
Nicholls,  no  fewer  than  seventy-two  of  the  itinerary  or  movable 
forges  within  the  forest ;  the  Crown  received  for  licensing  them 
7-r.  each  a  year. 

Mr.  Nicholls  has  printed  much  concerning  the  receipts  and 
expenditure  of  this  Crown  forest,  from  the  Pipe  Rolls  of  1130 
downwards,  and  this  could  easily  be  supplemented  by  further 
particulars,  especially  of  the  reign  of  Edward  II.  Throughout 
the  fourteenth  century  the  forest  of  Dean  was  frequently  called 

THE    FOREST   OF    DEAN  279 

upon  to  furnish  considerable  contingents  of  archers  and 
miners  to  serve  in  the  wars  with  Scotland  and  France.  In 
1316  the  men  of  the  forest  also  took  a  prominent  part  in  the 
suppression  of  Welsh  disturbances.  Three  commissioners  of 
array  were  appointed  in  February  for  the  purpose  of  raising 
a  force  of  1,000  foot  soldiers  in  the  forest  of  Dean  and  else- 
where in  the  county  of  Gloucester,  who  were  to  be  marched, 
at  the  king's  wages,  against  Llewellyn  Bren  and  his  followers. 

In  1316,  tithes  to  the  value  of  £10  issuing  from  the  iron 
mines  in  the  parish  of  Newland  were  granted  to  the  Bishop  of 
Llandaff ;  but  this  assignment  met  with  great  opposition  at  the 
hands  of  the  Dean  and  Chapter  of  Hereford,  who  sent  their 
servants  to  use  forcible  resistance.  In  the  following  reign  this 
dispute  was  settled  in  favour  of  the  bishop,  who  also  obtained 
the  great  tithes  of  Newland  and  the  advowson  of  the  vicarage. 
In  1324  the  Earl  of  Pembroke  was  ordered  to  cause  his  minis- 
ters to  desist  from  hindering  the  abbot  of  Gloucester  from  fell- 
ing wood  for  his  houses  and  for  fuel  in  the  woods  of  Bride- 
wode  and  Hopemaloysel  within  the  forest  bounds,  as  he  held 
an  ancient  chartered  privilege. 

Edward  III.,  in  1329,  granted  to  Guy  de  Brien,  the  farmer 
and  keeper  of  the  forest,  the  cutting  of  all  the  underwood,  to 
find  wages  for  four  foresters.  In  the  same  year  Gilbert  Talbot 
was  licensed  to  impark  and  hold  in  fee-simple  a  plot  called 
Haygrove,  parcel  of  his  manor  of  Lynton,  Herefordshire, 
containing  one  hundred  acres  of  land  and  fifteen  acres  of  wood, 
which  was  within  the  metes  of  the  forest  in  the  time  of 
Edward  II.,  but  had  by  perambulation  been  then  placed  out- 
side the  forest. 

Notwithstanding  their  bravery  and  skill  as  soldiers,  the 
inhabitants  of  some  parts  of  the  forest  had  an  evil  reputation 
as  wreckers.  Thus  in  1344  a  special  commission  was  issued  to 
deal  with  the  persons  who  had  attacked  a  ship  of  Majorca, 
laden  with  goods  and  wares,  which  had  been  driven  ashore  by 
stress  of  weather  in  the  parts  of  the  forest  of  Dean,  and  had 
plundered  the  master  and  mariners  of  the  ship  and  others 
deputed  to  guard  the  goods,  and  this  at  a  time  when  the  king 
had  entered  into  truces  with  his  adversaries  on  every  side. 

Richard  III.,  in  1391,  granted  the  castle  of  St.  Briavel  and 
the  forest  of  Dean,  to  the  value  of  £80  a  year,  with  assarts, 


purprestures,  rents,  advowsons,  liberties,  etc.,  to  his  uncle 
Thomas,  Duke  of  Gloucester,  in  part  satisfaction  of  the  sum  of 
£1,000  a  year  granted  to  him  to  maintain  his  ducal  rank. 

In  the  days  of  Henry  VI.  the  character  of  the  miners  and 
tenants  of  the  forest  had  grown  worse.  The  men  of  Tewkes- 
bury,  in  a  petition  to  Parliament  of  1430,  charged  them  with 
attacking  their  vessels,  by  which  they  conveyed  goods  down 
the  river  to  Bristol,  "  with  great  ryot  and  strengthe  in  manner 
of  warre,"  despoiling  them  of  their  merchandise  and  their 
wheat,  malt,  and  flour,  sinking  their  boats  and  drowning  those 
who  resisted  them. 

The  Crown  was  continuously  appointing,  during  the  latter 
part  of  the  fifteenth  century,  to  various  offices  in  this  forest,  the 
duties  of  which  were  generally  discharged  by  deputy,  or  grant- 
ing charges  on  the  receipts  to  their  servants.  Thus  in  1480, 
Edward  IV.  granted  to  Robert  Mutton,  "gentilman,"  the 
office  of  porter  of  St.  Brivel  and  receiver  of  the  forest  of  Dean ; 
to  William  Sclatter,  the  king's  servant,  in  1481,  the  parkership 
of  Whightmede  park  and  4^.  daily  from  the  forest  issues  ;  and 
to  John  Grenehill,  one  of  the  Crown  yeomen,  in  the  same  year, 
6d.  daily  from  the  issues  of  the  king's  mines.  Richard  III., 
in  1484-5,  granted  to  George  Hyett  the  office  of  riding  forester, 
together  with  that  of  "ale  cunner"  in  the  parish  of  Newland  ; 
and  to  John  Peke  the  life  office  of  one  of  the  rangerships. 

The  suppression  of  the  monasteries  brought  about  much  con- 
fusion in  this  and  other  forests.  Dean  forest  was  more 
especially  effected  by  the  dissolution  of  the  abbeys  of  Flaxley 
and  Tintern.  The  Kingstons,  father  and  son,  to  whom  much 
of  the  monastic  properties  and  forest  privileges  were  granted, 
were  insistent  on  their  rights,  but  failed  to  discharge  the 
obligations  that  had  been  fulfilled  by  the  religious  houses. 

It  has  been  stated  both  by  Fuller  and  Evelyn  that  the 
Spaniards  so  fully  recognised  the  great  value  of  Dean  forest, 
as  supplying  the  best  timber  for  England's  navy,  that  special 
instructions  were  given  to  the  admirals  of  the  Armada,  to 
accomplish  the  devastation  of  these  woods,  even  if  they  were 
not  able  to  subdue  the  nation  and  make  good  their  conquest. 

A  grant  was  made  to  William  Earl  of  Pembroke,  in  1611,  of 
the  castle  of  St.  Briavel  and  of  the  forest,  with  all  its  appurte- 
nances, save  the  timber,  for  forty  years  at  a  rental  of  .£83  13$.  <\d. 

THE    FOREST   OF    DEAN  281 

A  survey  of  1638  returned  that  the  forest  contained  105,557 
trees,  containing  61,928  tons  of  timber,  in  addition  to  153,209 
cords  of  underwood.  An  entire  sale  was  thereupon  made  by 
the  Crown  to  Sir  John  Wintour  of  all  woods,  mines,  quarries, 
etc.,  within  the  forest  in  consideration  of  £106,000,  to  be  paid 
by  instalments,  and  a  fee-farm  rent  of  £1,950  i2s.  8d.  for  ever. 
The  commissioners  and  commoners  agreed  at  this  time  to  the 
disafforesting  and  enclosure  of  18,000  acres. 

Sir  John  Wintour,  on  entering  into  possession,  made  many 
enclosures,  and  grubbed  up  much  timber  and  underwood  ;  but 
the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War  checked  his  proceedings,  and  the 
inhabitants  threw  down  all  the  enclosures.  For  a  time  it 
seemed  as  if  general  lawlessness  would  bring  about  the 
destruction  of  all  the  woods,  but  Cromwell  and  the  Parliament 
took  vigorous  measures  for  their  preservation  in  1648.  An 
Act  was  passed  in  1656  by  which  Wintour's  grant  was  declared 
void,  and  the  whole  forest  was  vested  in  the  Protector  for  the 
use  of  the  Commonwealth. 

At  the  Restoration,  however,  Wintour  again  entered  into 
possession,  and  began  to  re-enclose.  The  inhabitants  offered 
strenuous  resistance,  and  the  matter  was  referred  to  a  com- 
mission to  survey  and  report.  It  was  found  that  there  were 
25,929  oaks  and  4,204  beeches,  "  as  good  timber  as  any  in  the 
world."  A  new  treaty  was  entered  into  with  Wintour  in  1661, 
by  which  he  surrendered  his  former  patent,  and  agreed  to 
preserve  11,335  tons  °f  shipping  timber.  It  was,  however, 
reported  to  the  House  in  1663  that  Wintour  had  500  cutters  at 
work,  and  that  the  woods  would  all  speedily  disappear  unless 
there  was  further  interference.  The  work  of  destruction  went 
merrily  on  until  1668,  when  it  was  decided  by  Act  of  Parliament 
that  11,000  acres  might  be  enclosed  by  the  Crown;  that  all 
the  wood  and  timber  on  the  remaining  13,000  acres  was  to  be 
vested  absolutely  in  the  Crown  and  reafforested  ;  that  the  deer 
*on  that  waste  were  never  to  exceed  800  ;  and  that  the  winter 
heyning  and  fence  month,  when  no  kind  of  cattle  were  to  be 
agisted,  was  to  extend  from  St.  Martin's  Day  to  St.  George's 
Day  in  April,  and  for  fifteen  days  before  and  fifteen  days  after 

Into  the  question  of  the  pulling  down  of  the  king's  iron 
works  in  the  forest,  in  1674,  and  the  establishment  and  con- 


tinuance  of  the  Mine  Law  Court,  space  prohibits  us  to  enter. 
The  more  recent  development  of  coal  and  iron  industries  in 
this  beautiful  district  is  also  foreign  to  our  purpose. 

As  to  the  deer,  which  seem  to  have  been  almost  entirely 
fallow  after  the  Restoration,  they  became  much  reduced  in 
number  by  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  although  a  most 
elaborate  and  costly  staff  of  forest  officials  were  maintained. 
The  commission  of  1788  found  that  there  was  a  warden,  six 
deputy  wardens,  four  verderers,  a  steward  of  the  swainmote 
court  (which  never  sat),  nine  foresters-in-fee,  nine  woodwards, 
and  six  keepers  !  Mr.  Charles  Edwin,  chief  forester-of-fee  and 
bowbearer,  told  the  commissioners  that  he  was  entitled  to  the 
right  shoulder  of  all  bucks  and  does  killed  in  the  forest,  and 
to  ten  fee-bucks  and  ten  fee-does  annually  ;  and  that  as  bow- 
bearer  it  was  his  duty  to  attend  the  king  with  bow  and  arrow 
and  with  six  men  clothed  in  green  whenever  His  Majesty 
might  be  pleased  to  hunt  in  the  forest.  But  though  receiving 
all  his  venison  perquisites,  this  chief  forester-of-fee  was  so 
ignorant  of  any  corresponding  duties,  that  he  could  not  tell 
the  commissioners  the  number  of  deer  or  anything  as  to 
venison  warrants  executed  in  the  forest.  From  the  six  keepers 
the  commissioners  gained  the  vague  information  that  they 
believed  there  were  about  500  "  of  all  sort"  in  the  forest. 
The  deer  were  finally  all  destroyed  or  removed  from  the  forest 
in  1850,  as  the  result  of  Lord  Duncan's  committee  of  the 
previous  year,  to  the  number  of  about  150  bucks  and  300 
does.  The  general  feeling  at  that  time  was  that  their  presence 
had  a  demoralising  effect  as  an  inducement  to  poaching. 


A  "/THOUGH  the  forest  of  Essex  was  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant in  England,  not  only  in  extent,  but  in  con- 
sequence of  its  nearness  to  the  metropolis,  the  chapter 
concerning  it  will  be  about  the  briefest  in  the  book.  The 
reason  for  this  is  that  Mr.  Fisher,  in  1887,  published  a  learned 
and  almost  exhaustive  work  on  The  Forest  of  Essex,  based 
on  researches  among  a  great  variety  of  original  documents 
and  authorities.  Moreover,  Mr.  E.  N.  Buxton  has  written  a 
most  admirable  handbook  to  that  "  superb  fragment  of  natural 
forest,"  of  which  under  its  new  rule  he  is  the  verderer — the 
forest  of  Epping. 

The  forest  of  Essex  was  known  from  the  beginning  of  the 
fourteenth  century  as  the  forest  of  Waltham.  It  is  only  in 
comparatively  modern  days  that  it  has  taken  its  name — now 
that  its  area  is  so  much  more  restricted — from  the  little  town 
of  Epping.  It  was  the  custom  in  this  county  not  only  to  call 
the  whole  forest  by  the  names  of  principal  places,  such  as 
Waltham  and  afterwards  Epping,  but  also  to  write  of  the  out- 
lying parts,  such  as  Kingswood,  Writtle,  and  Hatfield,  as 
well  as  integral  portions  such  as  Theydon,  Loughton,  Ching- 
ford,  Havering,  and  Hainault,  as  though  they  were  indepen- 
dent forests.  But  they  were  all  ancient  Crown  demesnes, 
under  the  same  forest  regulations,  and  administered  by  the 
same  chief  officers.  The  whole,  as  late  as  Henry  III.'s  reign, 
was,  more  usually,  rightly  spoken  of  as  the  forest  of  Essex. 

The  whole  county  was  brought  under  forest  law,  save  per- 
haps a  portion  on  the  north-west  beyond  the  great  Roman 
road,  by  the  Conqueror  and  his  immediate  successors.  A 
small  amount  of  disafforesting  was  carried  out  by  Henry  II. 



and  by  John.  The  perambulations  of  Essex  forests,  a  neces- 
sary sequel  of  the  Forest  Charter  of  1217,  were  completed  in 
1225,  and  the  result  was  that  about  three-fourths  of  the  county 
were  ruled  to  be  outside  forest  jurisdiction,  because  it  had  been 
formally  afforested  after  the  coronation  of  Henry  II.  in  1154. 
The  part  that  remained  forest  was  in  the  south-west  corner, 
round  Waltham  and  Romford,  with  the  adjacent  Crown 
demesne  of  Havering.  However,  Henry  III.  audaciously 
upset  this  disafforesting  in  1228,  alleging  that  the  perambulat- 
ing knights  had  blundered,  the  disafforested  parts  being  old 
forest  of  the  time  of  Henry  I.,  which  had  lost  its  rights  in  the 
disturbances  of  Stephen's  days,  and  had  been  only  restored 
as  forest  by  Henry  II.  The  group  of  Essex  venison  inquisi- 
tions for  1238-40  (the  earliest  extant  of  any  county),  cited  by 
Mr.  Turner  in  Forest  Pleas,  show  that  forest  law  was  then  in 
active  operation  even  in  extreme  parts  of  the  county  north  of 
Colchester,  on  the  borders  of  Suffolk. 

Various  perambulations  were  made  in  the  time  of  Edward  I. 
confirming  the  extended  area  ;  but  in  1300,  when  he  was  sore 
pressed  for  money,  the  commons  made  a  fresh  and  definite 
perambulation  of  the  forests  a  condition  of  their  grant.  The 
result  of  the  1301  examination  of  forest  boundaries  and  their 
authorities  was  on  broad  lines  the  same  as  that  of  1225.  The 
forest  area  was  restricted  to  the  Waltham  and  Havering  corner 
of  the  county,  with  the  addition  of  the  vills,  or  small  districts 
immediately  round  the  towns  of  Colchester,  Writtle,  Hatfield 
Regis,  and  Felsted,  as  they  were  all  ancient  royal  demesne. 

In  1630  boundaries  were  again  laid  down  which  practically 
agreed  with  those  of  1301.  Four  years  later  much  indignation 
was  aroused  by  the  Crown  officials  attempting  to  raise  money 
by  extending  the  area  of  Waltham  forest.  Failing  in  this,  an 
attempt,  also  futile,  was  made  to  secure  its  disafforestation 
and  sale.  This  resulted  in  an  Act  being  passed,  during  the 
first  session  of  the  Long  Parliament,  to  fix  the  boundaries, 
and  a  perambulation  showed  that  Waltham  forest  comprised 
about  60,000  acres. 

The  chief  duty  of  the  reeves  of  the  forest  parishes  was  to 
mark  the  cattle  of  their  respective  parishes  which  were  entitled 
to  forest  agistment  with  a  special  brand.  The  mark  consisted 
of  a  letter  surmounted  by  a  crown,  the  letters  running  con- 

A-  Wattham  Holy  Cross        E  -  Epping        C  -  Chingford 

K  —  Barking  K—  Barking  H  "~  ChigwelL 

(Maypole).  (Crooked  Billet)- 

\--Dagenham       Q-JYatthamslom        Q~  Wan  stead 



secutively  from  A  to  R.  Many  of  the  old  branding  irons,  with 
letters  about  eight  inches  high,  are  still  extant,  and  impres- 
sions are  given  in  Mr.  Fisher's  volume,  from  which  those  on 
the  accompanying  illustration  are  taken. 

The  machinery  of  the  forest  laws,  so  far  as  the  local  courts 
were  concerned,  was  maintained  with  some  measure  of  strict- 
ness far  later  in  Waltham  forest  than  elsewhere  in  the  king- 
dom. It  was  in  active  operation  until  nearly  the  end  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  and  was  certainly  effective  in  preventing 

In  1812  Mr.  Wellesley  Pole  (afterwards  Lord  Mornington) 
became  hereditary  lord  warden  in  right  of  his  wife.  This 
gentleman,  as  Mr.  Buxton  puts  it,  "saw  that  more  profit  was 
to  be  made  in  breaking  his  trust  than  in  keeping  it";  he  refused 
to  support  the  authority  of  the  verderers,  and  did  all  in  his 
power  to  bring  the  forest  laws  and  customs  into  contempt. 
Finally,  he  sold  the  rights  he  was  appointed  to  guard. 

In  the  middle  of  last  century  wholesale  enclosures  began, 
resulting  in  the  complete  destruction  of  the  woodlands  of 
Hainault  in  1851  and  its  conversion  into  arable  land.  A 
manufacturer  of  steam  ploughs  entered  into  a  contract  to  clear 
the  land.  Attaching  anchors  to  the  roots  of  the  old  oaks, 
including  the  Fairlop  Oak  of  ancient  memory,  he  completed 
the  whole  operation  in  six  weeks.  This  ruthless  action  began 
to  bring  about  a  reaction,  and  after  a  legal  contest,  extending 
over  fifteen  years,  in  which  the  Corporation  of  the  City  of 
London  played  a  great  part,  the  preservation  of  5,500  acres 
of  Epping  Forest  was  secured  for  the  enjoyment  of  the  public. 
The  victory  was  won  in  1874,  anc^  tne  management  of  the  forest 
vested  in  a  committee,  consisting  of  twelve  members  of  the 
Court  of  Common  Council  and  four  verderers  ;  the  latter  have 
to  be  resident  within  the  forest,  and  are  elected  by  the  com- 

For  full  particulars  as  to  the  history  of  the  deer  of  this  forest,  of 
the  woods  and  wood's  rights — especially  of  lopping,  which  was 
practised  more  in  Essex  than  elsewhere — of  the  pasture  and 
pannage  customs,  of  the  enclosures  and  encroachments,  and  of 
the  verderers,  foresters,  and  king's  woodwards,  the  reader 
is  referred  to  Mr.  Fisher's  comprehensive  work. 


THE  forest  of  Windsor  was  at  one  time  of  immense  extent, 
having  a  circumference  of  about  120  miles.  It  included 
a  part  of  Buckinghamshire,  a  small  portion  of  Middlesex, 
the  south-east  side  of  Berkshire  as  far  as  Hungerford,  and 
a  very  large  part  of  Surrey.  In  the  early  part  of  its  history 
almost  the  whole  of  Surrey  was  technically  within  the  bounds 
of  Windsor  forest,  and  subject  to  forest  law  ;  whilst  for  several 
centuries  the  rights  of  Windsor  forest  on  the  Surrey  side 
included  Cobham  and  Chertsey,  and  extended  along  the  side 
of  the  Wey  as  far  as  Guildford.  But  it  gradually  dwindled  in 
extent  through  encroachments  and  grants,  so  that  when 
Norden  made  his  detailed  survey  in  the  time  of  James  I.,  the 
circuit,  exclusive  of  the  Buckingham  liberties,  was  only 
77|  miles.  At  the  time  of  its  enclosure  in  1813,  the  circuit  had 
been  still  further  reduced  to  56  miles. 

There  is  a  noteworthy  reference  in  the  Close  Rolls  at  the  end 
of  John's  reign  to  the  deer  of  this  great  forest.  On  gth  January, 
1215,  the  king  gave  orders  for  no  fewer  than  sixty-four  deer  to 
be  supplied  out  of  Windsor  forest  for  the  great  feast  at  the 
consecration  of  the  bishop-elect  of  Coventry.  This  feast  took 
place  at  Reading,  for  William  Cornhill  was  consecrated  Bishop 
of  Coventry  and  Lichfield,  and  Richard  le  Poor  Bishop  of 
.Chichester,  on  25th  January,  in  the  infirmary  chapel  of  the 
Benedictine  abbey  of  that  town. 

The  references  to  royal  grants  made  by  Henry  III.  out 
of  Windsor  forest  are  numerous  and  interesting,  but  for  these 
search  must  be  made  in  the  printed  calendars  of  both  Close 
and  Patent  Rolls. 

The  grants  of  timber  in  Henry  III.'s  reign  out  of  Windsor 



forest  were  not  nearly  so  numerous  as  those  from  royal  forests 
in  Northamptonshire,  Wiltshire,  Hampshire,  or  Essex ;  in 
fact,  there  were  exceptionally  large  tracts  of  open  common  and 
waste  in  this  widespread  forest  district,  where  even  bushes  were 
exceptional.  The  donations  that  were  made  were  chiefly  to  the 
religious,  to  the  friars  of  Oxford,  Reading,  and  London,  to 
the  abbeys  of  Chertsey  and  Westminster,  to  the  priories  of 
Ankirk  and  Merton,  and  particularly  to  the  nunnery  of  Brom- 
hall,  within  the  forest. 

Among  the  more  interesting  grants  of  timber  for  specific 
purposes  are  those  relative  to  ships  and  boats.  In  1221  a  grant 
of  beechwood  was  made  to  William  Earl  of  Salisbury  for 
building  a  ship  ;  the  trees  selected  were  to  be  those  growing 
near  the  banks  of  the  Thames,  as  the  timber  was  to  be  taken 
down  to  London.  The  constable  of  Windsor  was  directed,  in 
1224,  to  supply  the  chaplain  of  the  chapel  of  St.  Mary  of 
Faversham  with  timber  for  making  a  boat  (batellum)  so  that 
poor  people  and  others  might  be  able  to  cross  the  Thames 
to  Faversham  and  back.  Again,  at  a  little  later  date,  a  good 
oak  was  supplied  wherewith  to  make  a  boat  for  the  conveyance 
of  poor  folk  over  the  water  of  Cavresham. 

The  ancient  mitred  abbey  of  Chertsey,  founded  in  the 
seventh  century,  had  many  liberties  and  rights  within  this 
forest,  particularly  on  the  Surrey  side.  William  II.  granted 
the  abbey  leave  to  take  wood  for  their  necessary  uses  out 
of  the  Surrey  forests,  and  to  hunt  therein  hare  and  fox. 
Henry  II.,  in  a  further  charter,  added  to  this  general  free 
warren  liberty  to  hunt  the  wild  cat  and  to  take  pheasants, 
to  impale  parks  at  Ebisham  and  Coveham,  to  have  all  the  game 
in  them  free  from  molestation  by  the  king's  foresters,  and  that 
none  of  the  forest  justices  or  other  ministers  were  to  disturb 
them  in  their  four  manors  of  Chertsey,  Egham,  Thorpe,  and 
Chobham,  or  even  to  enter  therein.  The  venison  privileges 
were  limited  by  charter  of  Richard  I.  and  John,  but  their 
manorial  powers  were  increased. 

The  pleas  of  the  forest  were  held  at  Guildford  in  1256,  but 
the  earliest  eyre  within  Windsor  forest  of  which  there  are  any 
details  was  that  held  at  Guildford  on  8th  July,  1270,  before 
Justices  Roger  de  Clifford,  Matthew  de  Colombieres,  Nicholas 
de  Romsey,  and  Reginald  de  Acle.  It  was  then  presented 


and  proved  by  the  verderers  and  by  twenty-four  good  men  of 
the  town  of  Guildford  and  its  vicinity,  as  well  as  by  many 
sworn  townships,  that  Walter  Walerund,  William  his  brother, 
and  three  others  who  were  all  dead,  as  well  as  Thomas  de 
Bois,  a  survivor,  were  all  habitual  evildoers  to  the  venison 
of  the  king  and  to  his  conies  in  Guildford  park ;  that  some- 
times they  were  harboured  at  the  house  of  Alan  de  Slyfield, 
and  sometimes  at  the  house  of  John  atte  Hook,  who  were  privy 
to  their  offences  ;  and  that  all  these  persons,  on  Whitsunday, 
1267,  took  in  the  park,  without  warrant,  a  buck,  a  doe,  and 
thirteen  conies,  and  that  Robert  de  Ford  was  their  harbourer 
and  privy  to  it.  Ralph,  Alan,  and  John  appeared,  and  were 
convicted  and  imprisoned.  The  sheriff  was  ordered  to  produce 
Thomas  and  Robert  at  the  court  on  i8th  July.  When  Thomas 
de  Bois  appeared  he  was  imprisoned,  but  before  the  pleas  were 
ended  he  was  released  on  payment  of  a  mark.  Ralph,  Alan, 
and  John  were  also  released  on  payment  of  half  a  mark.  The 
next  presentment  was  against  five  persons  who  entered  the 
same  park  on  22nd  July,  1263,  with  bow  and  arrows  and  grey- 
hounds, to  do  evil  to  the  king's  venison.  Three  of  the  offenders 
were  dead,  and  the  other  two  were  ordered  to  attend  the  court 
day  by  day.  It  was  afterwards  proved  that  two  more  persons 
of  this  poaching  party  had  entered  the  park  seven  years  pre- 
viously; one  of  these  was  then  living  at  Farnborough,  and  the 
justice  sent  an  order  to  the  sheriff1  of  Hampshire  to  arrest  him 
and  keep  him  safely  in  prison  until  the  eyre  was  held  at 

The  information  as  to  the  agisting  of  the  park,  presented  at 
this  eyre,  is  of  interest.  In  1257  the  park  was  agisted  with 
ten  horses  and  a  hundred  cattle  for  eight  weeks,  from  Hock- 
day  to  the  Nativity  of  St.  John  Baptist,  at  a  charge  of  id.  a 
head.  After  24th  June  there  remained  on  the  park  herbage 
twenty  plough-beasts  at  \d.  a  week.  In  the  same  year  the 
.park  was  agisted  for  156  pigs,  and  there  was  given  in  the 
name  of  pannage  for  the  king  every  third  pig,  or  52  pigs  in 
all,  each  worth  2s.  Particulars,  approximately  the  same,  save 
that  there  was  no  pannage,  follow  on  the  roll  for  the  next 
two  years.  In  1260  there  was  no  agistment  of  herbage  in  con- 
sequence of  the  war,  but  the  park  was  agisted  with  240  pigs  for 
mast,  ^d.  being  paid  for  each  pig.  In  1261  and  in  1262  the 


park  was  not  agisted,  neither  for  herbage  nor  pannage. 
In  1263  there  were  100  pigs  for  mast  at  4^.  a  pig.  In  1264 
there  was  no  agistment  for  pigs  through  lack  of  mast,  but  it 
was  agisted  for  a  month  with  56  plough-beasts.  Fifty  oaks 
were  felled  this  year  for  the  king's  house-building  works  at 

The  bounds  of  the  Surrey  part  of  Windsor  forest  at  this 
eyre  were  given  as  :  through  Ham  as  far  as  Guildford  bridge 
along  the  bank  of  the  Wey  ;  from  Guildford  bridge  along  the 
11  Copledecroche "  (Hog's  Back)  as  far  as  the  "Malloesot" 
bridge;  by  the  Woodbrook  as  far  as  "  Brodesford  "  bridge 
(Blackwater  bridge)  ;  and  so  far  by  the  king's  highway  to 
Herpesford  ;  and  so  by  the  little  river  from  Herpesford  as  far 
as  Chertsey  ;  and  so  by  the  Thames  to  Ham. 

The  Close  Rolls  of  1275  show  that  the  keeper  of  this  forest 
received  a  considerable  salary.  Geoffrey  de  Picheford,  con- 
stable of  the  castle,  was  ordered  in  that  year  to  pay  izd.  daily 
to  Robert  de  Say,  whom  the  king  had  appointed  chief  forester 
and  minister  of  the  forest  during  good  behaviour,  in  place  of 
John  Inglehard,  deceased,  for  his  expenses  about  that  custody. 
In  that  year  the  foresters  and  verderers  were  busy  in  selecting 
oaks  and  beeches  throughout  the  forest  to  be  used  for  the 
impaling  of  Windsor  park  and  the  king's  other  works.  A 
little  later  in  the  reign  oaks  were  felled  to  be  used  in  the 
making  of  a  great  barge  for  the  king's  ferry  at  Datchet.  In 
1276  the  constable  of  the  Tower  of  London  obtained  thirty 
Windsor  oaks  to  burn  lime  with  for  the  works  of  the  Tower. 

The  impaling  of  the  new  park  of  Windsor  seems  to  have 
been  completed  in  1278.  In  November  of  that  year  the  keeper 
of  Chute  forest,  Wilts,  was  informed  by  the  king  that  he  was 
sending  one  of  his  yeomen  to  take  in  that  forest  live  deer  to 
stock  his  park  at  Windsor,  and  that  he  was  to  permit  as  many 
to  be  taken  as  could  be  without  damage  to  Chute  forest.  In 
the  previous  year  the  Close  Rolls  also  supply  the  information 
that  there  were  then  wild  (silvestres)  bulls  and  cows  in  Windsor 
park  ;  the  constable  was  ordered  to  effect  their  capture  and 
sale,  and  to  use  the  money  towards  the  expenses  of  the  king's 
children  then  staying  at  the  castle. 

The  keeper  of  Windsor  forest  received  orders  from 
Edward  I.  on  2Oth  May,  1286,  when  the  king  was  just  about 


to  cross  the  seas,  to  admit  Edmund,  Earl  of  Cornwall,  his 
kinsman,  to  chase  in  that  forest  at  pleasure,  and  to  permit 
him  to  take  deer,  and  to  aid  and  counsel  him  in  so  doing.  A 
record  was  to  be  kept  of  the  number  of  the  deer  thus  taken. 

The  forest  perambulations  of  1299-1300  yield  the  following 
as  to  the  Surrey  side  of  this  forest : — 

"The  perambulation  of  the  forest  of  Windsor,  in  the  county  of 
Surrey,  made  on  the  Saturday  next  before  the  feast  of  St.  Gregory 
the  Pope,  in  the  twenty-eighth  year  of  the  reign  of  king  Edward,  at 
Lambeth  before  Roger  Brabancon,  John  of  Berwick,  Ralph  of 
Hingham,  William  Inge,  and  John  of  Croxley,  in  the  presence  of 
Phillip  de  Sai,  clerk  of  the  justice  of  the  forest,  the  foresters  and 
verderers  of  the  forest  aforesaid,  by  the  oath  of  William  Aumbesas, 
John  of  Burstow,  Robert  of  Bekwell,  knights,  Robert  le  Dol,  Robert 
of  Walton,  William  of  Northwood,  John  Prodhomme,  Robert  att 
Send,  Nicholas  of  Weston,  Richard  of  Horton,  Edmund  of  Utworth, 
and  John  of  Farnham,  who  say  upon  their  oath  that  the  whole  county 
of  Surrey  was  forest  in  the  time  of  king  Henry,  the  great-grand- 
father of  the  king  who  now  is,  and  the  same  king  Henry  died  seised 
of  it ;  and  so  it  remained  forest  until  the  fourth  day  of  December  in 
the  first  year  of  the  reign  of  king  Richard,  who  then  disafforested  a 
certain  part  of  the  same  county  by  certain  metes,  which  are  contained 
in  the  charter  of  the  same  king  Richard  made  concerning  them,  to 
wit,  between  Kent  and  the  water  which  is  called  the  Wey,  and  from 
the  hill  of  Guild  Down  as  far  as  the  county  of  Surrey  extends 
towards  the  south  ;  and  the  rest  of  the  county  aforesaid,  to  wit, 
beginning  at  the  water  of  the  Wey,  as  far  as  the  county  of  Surrey 
extends,  to  the  north  of  the  hill  of  Guild  Down,  remained  and  is 
forest.  And  after  that  charter  was  made  nothing  was  afforested  or 
occupied  by  king  Richard  or  by  king  John  or  by  anybody  else. 

"  They  say  also  that  they  do  not  know  that  any  part  of  the  county 
aforesaid  was  afforested  by  the  aforesaid  Henry,  the  great-grand- 
father of  the  king  who  now  is." 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  fickleness  shown  by  Edward  III. 
and  his  advisers  with  regard  to  the  Surrey  part  of  the  forest 
at  the  beginning  of  his  reign,  as  shown  by  the  entries  on  the 
Patent  and  Close  Rolls.  On  27th  December,  1327,  the  recent 
perambulation  of  the  Surrey  forest  was  confirmed.  The  per- 
ambulation began  at  "  Waymuthe,"  and  thence  along  the 
Thames  to  "  Ladenlakeshacehe,"  where  the  three  counties  of 


Surrey,  Berks,  and  Bucks  met ;  thence  to  the  eastern  corner 
of  Windsor  Park,  to  the  mill  of  Harpsford,  to  Thornhill,  .  .  . 
and  thence  to  Bridford,  where  the  three  counties  of  Surrey, 
Berks,  and  Hants  met.  This  ratification  concluded  with  the 
assertion  that  the  whole  county  of  Surrey  was  without  the 
forest,  and  was  so  in  the  time  of  Henry,  the  king's  great- 

At  the  same  time  a  mandate  was  issued  to  the  sheriff  to 
have  the  king's  letters  patent  read  in  full  county  court,  the 
proclamation  publicly  proclaimed,  and  to  cause  it  to  be 
observed  ;  but  saving  to  the  king  forty  days  from  that  date 
to  chase  the  deer  into  his  forest  in  places  which,  according 
to  the  perambulation,  are  without  the  forest.  Another  mandate 
of  the  like  date  was  issued  to  the  constable  of  Windsor  Castle 
to  use  all  diligence  in  chasing  all  such  deer  in  Surrey  into  the 
king's  forest  within  the  forty  days. 

The  sheriff  of  Surrey  was  instructed  on  i5th  October,  1329, 
to  make  summons  for  an  eyre  of  forest  pleas  for  that  county 
at  Guildford,  on  Monday  after  St.  Andrew's  Day. 

On  4th  August,  1333,  the  Surrey  disafforesting  of  six  years 
earlier  date,  apparently  based  on  hasty  and  insufficient  in- 
formation, was  annulled.  Order  was  then  issued  to  obtain 
full  imformation  as  to  the  bounds  of  the  Surrey  forests  in  the 
time  of  the  late  king,  and  to  cause  them  henceforth  to  be 
guarded  by  the  like  boundaries,  and  this  notwithstanding 
the  grant  of  1527;  for  the  king  had  understood  that  divers 
woods  and  open  spaces  in  Surrey  ought  to  be  afforested,  as 
was  fully  proved  by  divers  inquisitions  and  memoranda  in 
the  treasury,  and  that  the  said  woods  and  places  under  colour 
of  the  late  grant  had  been  disafforested  to  the  king's  manifest 

The  forest  justices  (Sir  John  Ratcliffe  and  Sir  Reginald 
Gray)  sat  at  Guildford  on  8th  August,  1488.  The  keepers 
of  the  parks  who  were  present  were  Sir  Reginald  Gray  for 
the  parks  of  Guildford  and  Henley  ;  Richard  Pigot,  for 
Poltenhall  ;  and  William  Mitchell,  for  Bagshot. 

Sir  Thomas  Bourchier  was  the  keeper,  with  Sir  William 
Norris,  lieutenant,  and  William  Orchard  his  deputy.  One  of 
the  foresters  was  lately  dead,  but  two  foresters  and  one  deputy 
were  present.  Henry  Stokton  and  William  Bantrum,  the  late 


verderers,  were  in  attendance,  as  well  as  their  successors, 
Henry  Slyfeld  and  John  Westbrook. 

The  regarders  numbered  eighteen  ;  two  of  them  were 
described  as  gentlemen.  There  were  seven  woodwards,  each 
of  whom  returned  omnia  bene.  The  reeves  and  four-men  of 
the  townships  of  Ash,  Byfleet,  Chertsey,  Egham,  Frimley, 
Horsell,  Pirbright,  Thorpe,  Windesham,  Woking,  and  Worp- 
lesdon  were  in  attendance,  as  well  as  thirteen  free  tenants. 

Among  the  offences  dealt  with  at  this  eyre  were  the  cutting 
down  without  licence  of  forty  oaks  within  the  forest  at  Pir- 
bright ;  killing  a  great  buck  at  Crowford  bridge  ;  the  killing 
of  a  hind  calf  with  greyhounds  by  Thomas  Forde  of  Pirbright, 
who  was  one  of  the  foresters  of  the  forest  of  Windsor  ;  the 
felling  and  removing  of  400  oaks  and  300  beeches  by  Thomas 
Abbot  of  Chertsey,  without  licence  ;  killing  a  stag  with  grey- 
hounds at  Wanburgh  ;  and  various  instances  of  shooting  at 
deer,  or  slaying  them  with  bows  and  arrows,  and  setting  nets 
for  their  capture.  Ralph  Baggley  was  fined  IOOT.  for  being 
a  common  destroyer  of  pheasants  and  partridges  and  a  taker 
of  birds.  Another  transgressor  had  slain  six  pheasants  with 
a  hawk. 

The  reeve  and  four-men  of  Chobham  presented  John  Wode 
for  following  the  craft  of  a  tanner  within  the  forest,  and  he 
was  fined  i2d.  They  also  presented  another  man  for  having 
a  warren,  and  he  was  mulcted  in  the  like  sum. 

The  following  particulars  were  supplied  to  the  justices  re- 
specting the  deer  of  Guildford  park  during  Henry  VII. 's 
reign  :— 

"  The  sum  of  the  Dere  slayn  by  our  Sovereyn  lorde  the  kynge 
in  the  parke  of  Gylforde  att  the  feste  of  Seynt  Mychaell  the  fyrste 
yere  of  hys  Reygne. 

Imprimis  slayn  of  Dere  of  Auntyller  xvj. 

Item  the  same  season  Ix  doys. 

Item  iij  fones. 

Item  ij  prykettes. 

Item  the  same  yere  my  lord  Madurface  iij  doys  and  a  prykett. 

Item  Syr  John  Arundell  a  Doo. 

Item  Master  Bowchere  ij  Doys. 

Item  Syr  Thomas  Mylborne  a  Do  we. 

Item  my  lady  of  Lyncolne  a  Doo. 


Item  Syr  my  lord  Awdley  a  Doo. 

Item  Syr  Jamys  Awdley  ij  Doys. 

Item  ther  dyede  in  moren  xli  doys  and  prykettys. 

Item  ther  dyede  the  same  yere  Cxxxv  of  fones. 

Item  xj  dere  of  Auntuller. 

Item  the  kynge  killede  in  Som  xxiij  dere  of  Auntuller. 

Item  my  lord  Grey  Codnore  a  Bukke. 

Item  my  lorde  madurface  a  Bukke. 

Item  Syr  John  Arundell  a  Bukke. 

Item  Master  Bowchere  and  Syr  John  Wynfelde  a  Bukke. 

Item  the  Abbot  of  Westminster  a  Bukke." 

In  the  second  of  his  reign  Henry  VII.  killed  in  this  park, 
between  Michaelmas  and  All  Saints,  by  his  "  oon  persone " 
ten  does  and  a  fawn.  Two  does  were  sent  to  the  king  at 
Westminster  on  the  Feast  of  All  Saints.  Six  does  were  sent 
"to  the  Coronation  of  the  Quene."  Twenty  does,  eight 
bucks,  and  three  sores  were  sent  out  as  gifts  during  the  year. 

A  presentment  was  also  made  as  to  the  park  of  Henley-in- 
the-Heath  :— 


"  Thees  bene  the  dere  that  have  bene  ded  in  moreyn  and  that  hath 
bene  slayn  seyn  the  begynnyng  of  the  Reigne  of  the  Kinges  grase 
that  nowe  is  Kyng  Henry  the  vijth. 

"  Fyrst  the  Kynges  grase  kylled  hymselff  in  the  seyd  parke  of 
Henley  wyth  his  Bowe  and  his  bukhundes  in  the  Fyrst  yere  of  his 
Reigne.  iiij  bukken. 

"  Item  by  his  servauntes  the  same  tyme  the  kyng  being  in  the  seid 
parke.  vj  male  dere. 

"  Item  to  the  abbot  of  Westminster  the  same  year  j  bukke. 

"  Item  sent  to  the  Court  by  the  Kynges  Waraunt  the  fyrst  yere  of 
his  Reygne  in  Wynter  ij  does. 

"Item  delyvered  to  the  abbot  of  Westminster  the  second  yere  of 
the  Kynges  grace — j  bukke. 

"  Item  delyvered  to  my  Lord  Prynce  lyvynge  at  Farnham,  the 
second  year  of  the  kynges  grase  in  Wynter  iij  does. 

"  Item  delyvered  to  the  seid  abbot  the  thyrd  yere  of  the  kynges 
grase  j  Bukke. 

"  Thees  bene  the  morens  in  the  seid  parke. 

"  In  the  fyrst  yere  of  the  Kynges  grase  dyed  in  moreyn  in  the 
seyd  parke  of  Henley — iiij  fawyns,  j  doe,  and  a  pryker. 

"  Item  in  the  second  yere  folowyng,  j  pryker,  and  ij  faunes. 


"  Item  in  the  thyrd  yere  now  last  past,  a  soure  and  teg-ge. 
"  Item  now  in  faunsumty6  dyed  in  fawnyngf.     ij  does. 
"  Item  delyvered  to  Master  Bourghchyer  for  ij  yere,  ij  Bukken. 
"  Item  Master  John  of  Stanley  killed  in  the  seid  parke  j  Bukke. 
"  Item    my  lord   of    Derby  servauntes    killed    in    the   seid   parke 
j  Tegg-e." 

The  same  justices,  before  they  came  to  Guildford,  had  held 
the  forest  pleas  for  the  Berkshire  division  of  Windsor  forest, 
at  New  Windsor,  on  4th  August,  1488.  Sir  Thomas  Bourchier 
and  Sir  William  Norris  were  respectively  keeper  and  lieutenant, 
as  in  the  Guilford  division.  There  were  also  present  bailiffs 
and  deputies  of  the  bailiwicks  of  Fenie  Wood  and  Finchamp- 
stead,  and  bailiffs  of  the  respective  liberties  of  the  bishops  of 
Salisbury  and  Winchester,  the  bailiff  of  Elizabeth  the  Queen  ; 
representative  burgesses  of  Windsor ;  the  late  and  present 
verderers  ;  twelve  regarders,  six  of  whom  were  esquires  ;  and 
jurors  for  the  hundreds  of  Bray,  Cookham,  and  Sonning. 

Those  that  claimed  at  this  eyre  special  liberties  in  the  actual 
forest  of  Windsor  were  Elizabeth,  Queen  of  England';  the 
bishops  of  Winchester  and  Salisbury  ;  the  abbots  of  Reading, 
Abingdon,  Waltham,  Westminster,  Stratford  Langthorn, 
Cirencester,  and  Chertsey ;  the  priors  of  Hurley,  Bisham, 
and  Merton  ;  the  prioresses  of  Bromehall  and  Ankerwyke,  the 
dean  and  canons  of  Windsor,  the  provost  and  college  of  Eton, 
the  dean  and  chapter  of  Salisbury,  the  mayor  and  citizens  of 
New  Windsor,  the  duchess  of  Norfolk,  and  two  laymen. 

A  singular  case  to  come  under  any  kind  of  forest  court  was 
that  of  John  Pomfreth,  the  tenant  of  a  mill-race  (gurges},  at 
a  place  called  Hornedroare;  he  was  fined  i2d.  for  not  supplying 
drink  to  the  inhabitants  when  making  their  Rogation-tide  per- 
ambulation, according  to  custom. 

Henry  VIII.  was  passionately  fond  of  the  chase  and  of  sport 
in  all  its  forms,  so  that  it  is  not  surprising  to  find  various 
references  to  his  experiences  in  this  royal  forest  throughout 
the  papers  of  his  reign.  His  chief  sporting  companion  was 
Sir  William  Fitzwilliam,  and  on  him  he  conferred  the  keeper- 
ship  of  the  Surrey  side  of  the  forest.  Richard  Weston  was 
another  of  the  hunting  set,  and  on  him,  in  1511,  the  king 
conferred  the  lieutenancy  of  the  castle  and  forest  of  Windsor, 
together  with  the  office  of  bow-bearer.  Another  of  his  boon 


companions  was  made  bailiff  of  Finchampstead,  within  the 
forest,  which  was  then  well  supplied  with  red  deer.  Business 
was  by  him  usually  sacrificed  to  pleasure.  At  the  end  of 
July,  1526,  Fitzwilliam  writes  from  Guildford :  "I  received 
a  packet  of  letters  addressed  to  the  king,  which  I  took  to  His 
Majesty  immediately  ;  but  as  he  was  going  out  to  have  a  shot 
at  a  stag,  he  asked  me  to  keep  them  until  the  evening." 

In  August,  1528,  Sir  Thomas  Heneage,  in  a  letter  to 
Wolsey,  from  Easthampstead,  said  that  the  king  on  the 
previous  day  had  taken  great  pains  with  his  hunting,  from  nine 
in  the  morning  till  seven  at  night,  but  only  obtained  one  deer 
— the  greatest  red  deer  killed  by  him  or  any  of  his  hunters  that 
year — which  he  sent  as  a  present  to  the  Cardinal.  Fitzwilliam, 
writing  to  Cromwell  in  August,  1534,  having  arrived  that 
night  at  the  Great  Park,  mentioned  that  he  was  in  much 
comfort,  as  his  keepers  promised  that  the  king  should  have 
great  sport,  and  asked  Cromwell  to  bring  his  greyhounds 
with  him  when  he  came  to  either  Chertsey  or  Guildford.  In 
January  of  the  following  year,  Lord  Sandys  writes  to  Crom- 
well, in  sore  dread  of  the  king's  wrath,  for  young  Trapnell 
had  killed  twenty  of  the  king's  deer  on  the  borders  of  Windsor 

Towards  the  end  of  his  reign,  Henry  VIII.  made  the  last 
royal  attempt  to  afforest  a  new  district.  But  even  his  tyranni- 
cal disposition  was  restrained  by  statute,  for  he  could  afforest 
no  man's  estate  against  his  will,  and  he  therefore  had  to  make 
private  arrangements  with  owners  to  effect  his  purpose. 
When  he  was  established  at  Hampton  Court,  the  king  desired 
to  have  a  nearer  hunting-ground  than  that  adjoining  Windsor 
or  Guildford,  and  therefore  he  resolved  to  make  forest,  if 
possible,  of  all  the  country  between  Hampton  and  his  new 
palace  of  Nonsuch,  near  Epsom.  Partly  by  new  statute  and 
partly  by  his  own  headstrong  will,  he  effected  most  of  his 
purpose.  In  1539  he  conferred  on  the  district  forest  rights 
and  privileges,  and  called  it  the  Honor  of  Hampton  Court. 
In  the  following  year  he  obtained  from  Parliament  two  Acts, 
the  one  "  for  the  uniting  of  divers  lordships  and  manors  to  the 
castle  of  Windsor,"  and  the  other  "for  the  uniting  of  the 
manor  of  Nonsuch  and  divers  other  manors  to  the  Honor  of 
Hampton  Court."  But  shortly  after  Henry's  death  this  newly 


created  honor  was  dechased,  and  the  deer  removed  to 
Windsor  forest. 

Of  Queen  Mary  it  is  stated  that  on  the  Tuesday  after  her 
marriage,  when  she  was  at  Windsor,  a  novel  method  of  ' '  sport" 
was  introduced.  Toils  were  raised  in  the  forest  four  miles  in 
length,  when  a  great  number  of  deer,  driven  therein  by 
the  hounds  and  huntsmen,  were  slaughtered. 

Elizabeth  was  much  more  of  a  sportswoman  than  her  sister. 
Under  the  guidance  of  her  favourite,  Sir  Henry  Neville,  the 
queen  frequently  hunted  in  this  forest.  She  remained  keenly 
attached  to  this  royal  sport  to  the  end  of  her  days.  In  January, 
1699,  Elizabeth  wrote  to  Neville  instructing  him  to  give  orders 
for  restraint  of  killing  game  and  deer  in  Mote  and  Sunninghill 
parks  in  Windsor  forest  during  his  absence  as  resident  am- 
bassador in  France.  As  late  as  1602  she  shot  "a  great  and 
fat  stag  "  at  Windsor  with  her  own  hand,  which  was  sent  as 
a  present  to  Archbishop  Parker. 

The  chief  matter  pertaining  to  Windsor  forest  under  James  I. 
was  the  elaborate  and  careful  survey  drawn  up  by  John  Norden, 
which  was  finished  in  1607.  There  is  a  good  abstract  of  this 
survey,  with  a  reproduction  of  that  part  of  his  map  (at  the 
British  Museum)  relative  to  the  Great  Park,  in  Mr.  Menzies' 
fine  work  on  that  part  of  the  forest.  Norden  thus  defines  the 
limits  of  the  forest:  "This  forest  lyeth  in  Berkshire,  Oxford- 
shire, Buckinghamshire,  and  Middlesex.  The  Tamis  bounds 
it  north,  the  Loddon  weste,  Brodforde  river  and  Guldowne 
south,  and  the  Waye  river  east."  The  Great  Park  had  then 
a  circumference  of  loj  miles,  and  contained  3,650  acres  within 
the  counties  of  Berks  and  Surrey,  whilst  his  estimate  of 
the  extent  of  the  open  forest  was  24,000  acres. 

James  raised  the  wrath  of  the  residents  by  attempting,  soon 
after  his  coming  to  England,  to  close  the  Little  Park  and 
Cranborne  Chase  against  all  comers;  but  "the  squires  and 
better  sort,"  says  Dixon,  in  Royal  Windsor,  "made  private 
keys  and  entered  like  gentlemen  of  the  highest  quality  ;  the 
locks  were  exchanged,  and  they  broke  the  fences  with  as  little 
scruple  as  the  tramps." 

Charles  I.  hunted  here  frequently  at  the  beginning  of  his 
reign.  In  1632  Noy,  the  king's  attorney-general,  styled  by 
Carlyle  "that  invincible  heap  of  learned  rubbish,"  revived 


the  forest  pleas,  and  justice-seats  were  held  both  at  Bagshotand 
Windsor.  Every  old  formality  was  strictly  observed  ;  at  the 
opening  each  forester  had  to  present  his  horn  on  bended  knee 
to  the  chief  justice  in  eyre,  and  each  woodward  his  hatchet ;  and 
these  insignia  of  office  were  not  returned  until  a  fine  of  half  a 
mark  had  been  rendered.  The  revival  of  forest  pleas  in  Surrey 
was  bitterly  resented.  No  part  of  Surrey  had  been  treated  as 


forest  until  Henry  II. 's  time,  when  almost  the  whole  county 
was  by  degrees  afforested.  Richard  I.  found  himself  obliged 
to  throw  open  again  all  eastward  of  the  Wey,  save  the  royal 
park  and  manor  of  Guildford,  leaving  the  rest  of  the  county 
to  be  attached  to  Windsor,  under  the  title  of  the  bailiwick  of 
Surrey.  But  from  that  time  onwards  there  had  been  more  or 
less  resistance  to  any  Surrey  afforesting  outside  the  parks, 
and  various  sovereigns,  particularly  Elizabeth,  had  made  im- 
portant concessions.  From  1632  to  1642  many  of  the  gentle- 


men  of  Surrey  encouraged  rather  than  checked  outbreaks  of 
daylight  poaching,  hunting  in  companies  of  eighty  or  a  hun- 
dred ;  at  the  latter  date  the  exemption  from  forest  law  of  the 
whole  of  Surrey,  save  Guildford  park,  was  definitely  accepted. 

In  1640,  the  grand  jury  of  the  county  of  Berks  complained 
as  to  "  the  innumerable  red  deer  in  the  forest  (Windsor),  which 
if  they  go  on  so  for  a  few  years  more,  will  neither  leave  food 
nor  room  for  any  other  creature  in  the  forest."  They  also  pro- 
tested against  the  rigid  enactment  of  the  forest  laws  and  the 
inordinate  fees  exacted  by  some  of  the  forest  ministers.  In 
the  following  year  a  great  tumult  arose  ;  the  people  round  the 
New  Lodge,  in  a  riotous  fashion,  killed  100  fallow  deer,  in 
addition  to  some  red  deer,  and  threatened  to  pull  down  the 
pales  of  that  park.  The  Earl  of  Holland  was  then  constable  of 
park  and  forest,  and  he  obtained  authority  for  the  sheriff  of 
Berks  to  raise  the  power  of  the  county  to  apprehend  the  per- 
sons engaged  in  this  riot.  But  in  1642  the  Long  Parliament 
took  possession  of  Windsor. 

It  is  in  Windsor  Park,  says  Mr.  Menzies,  that  "the  oldest 
authenticated  regular  plantation  in  England  can  be  shown." 
In  1625,  Richard  Daye  wrote  to  Secretary  Conway,  mention- 
ing a  proposal  that  he  had  previously  made  for  "sowing 
convenient  places  in  Windsor  forest  with  acorns,  which  had 
been  favourably  received  by  the  late  king,"  and  asking  that 
the  project  might  be  laid  before  Charles  I.  To  this  letter  he 
attached  a  statement  to  the  effect  that,  in  1580,  by  order  of  Lord 
Burleigh,  thirteen  acres  within  Cranborne  Walk  had  been 
impaled  and  sown  with  acorns,  which  had  by  that  time  (after 
forty-five  years'  growth)  become  ua  wood  of  some  thousands 
of  tall  young  oaks,  bearing  acorns,  and  giving  shelter  to 
cattle,  and  likely  to  prove  as  good  timber  as  any  in  the  king- 
dom." It  has  been  assumed,  on  excellent  grounds,  that  the 
plantation  here  referred  to  is  the  large  group  of  oaks  at  the 
'back  of  the  park  bailiff's  house  in  the  direction  of  Cranborne. 

Under  the  Commonwealth,  although  Sir  Bulstrode  White- 
lock,  constable  of  the  castle  and  keeper  of  the  forest,  was 
himself  a  sportsman,  the  deer  disappeared  from  the  Great 
Park,  and  only  a  few  remained  in  the  forest.  Much  of  the 
finest  timber  was  felled,  but  chiefly  for  navy  purposes.  At  the 
Restoration,  Charles  II.,  as  has  been  already  seen,  took  some 


trouble  to  re-stock  many  of  the  royal  parks  and  forests  with 
both  red  and  fallow  deer.  In  this  Windsor  had  its  full  share. 

In  November,  1731,  the  deer  of  Windsor  forest  numbered 
1,300;  in  1806  they  had  dwindled  to  318.  In  1813  came  the 
disafforesting  Act  for  Windsor,  and  in  the  following  year 
a  troop  of  the  Horse  Guards  and  a  detachment  of  the  5th 
Infantry  were  employed  for  two  days  in  sweeping  through  the 
wild  heaths  and  dells  that  were  about  to  be  enclosed,  and 
driving  thence  the  deer  into  the  parks  ;  but  in  this  rough 
process  many  were  slaughtered. 

At  the  present  day  the  acreage  of  the  Great  Park  is  about 
3,000  acres,  and  it  contains,  in  round  numbers,  1,000  fallow 
and  loo  red  deer.  Cranborne  Park,  though  part  of  the  Great 
Park,  has  a  pale  of  its  own,  and  contains  a  small  herd  of  white 
red-deer  ! 


IN  early  historic  days,  almost  the  whole  of  Sussex,  together 
with  considerable  parts  of  Kent  and  Surrey,  formed  one 
great  forest,  called  by  the  Britons  Coit  Andred,  from  its 
vast  extent.  The  Saxons  called  it  Andredes-weald,  which 
was  doubtless  adapted  from  the  Anderida  Silva  of  the  Roman 
Itineraries.  The  Saxon  Chronicle,  under  date  893,  gives  its 
extent  as  120  miles  long  from  east  to  west,  and  thirty  miles  in 
breadth.  That  considerable  part  of  the  county  which  remained 
forest  or  open  till  much  later  days — some,  indeed,  until  the 
present  time — was  known  as  the  Forest  Ridge  ;  it  formed  the 
elevated  district  of  the  north-eastern  part  of  the  county,  and 
stretched  in  a  north-westerly  direction  along  the  borders  of 
Surrey.  The  principal  sections  of  this  are  still  known  as  the 
forests  of  St.  Leonard  and  of  Ashdown. 

Young,  in  his  Agricultural  Survey,  at  the  end  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  said :  "  A  great  proportion  of  these  hills  is 
nothing  better  than  the  poorest  barren  sand,  the  vegetable 
covering  consisting  of  ferns,  heath,  etc.  St.  Leonard's  Forest 
contains  10,000  acres  of  it,  and  Ashdown  18,000  more,  besides 
many  thousand  acres  in  various  other  parts  of  the  county." 

Ashdown  forest  is  described  by  Mr.  Turner,  in  a  good 
paper  contributed  to  the  collections  of  the  Sussex  Archaeologi- 
cal Society  (vol.  xiv.),  as  consisting  of  about  10,000  acres, 
situated  in  the  parishes  of  Maresfield,  Fletching,  East  Grin- 
stead,  Hartfield,  Withyham,  and  Buxted.  It  formed  part  of 
the  honor  of  Pevensey,  and  from  53  Henry  III.  was  invested 
in  the  Crown  in  perpetuity,  and  hence  was  a  technical  forest 
under  forest  law,  a  position  that  it  did  not  lose  when  it  came  to 
John  of  Gaunt  in  44  Edward  III.  It  reverted  to  the  Crown,  with 



the  rest  of  the  Duchy  of  Lancaster,  until  the  time  of  Charles  II., 
when  it  was  formally  disafforested,  and  found  its  way  into  the 
hands  of  speculators  in  waste  lands.  Various  Tudor  com- 
missions show  that  the  timber  suffered  severely  from  the 
inroads  made  on  it  to  supply  charcoal  for  the  iron  foundries. 

In  the  early  part  of  Edward  I.'s  reign,  the  free  chace  and 
warren  of  Ashdown  were  held  by  the  king's  mother.  Pro- 
ceedings were  taken  in  1283  against  divers  persons  for  hunting 
and  carrying  away  deer  and  rabbits  from  her  park  at  Maresfield. 
In  1297,  Edward  I.  granted  Thomas  Paynel  licence  for  life  to 
hunt  with  his  own  dogs,  the  fox,  hare,  cat,  and  badger  in  the 
king's  forest  of  Ashdown  except  during  fence  month  ;  it 
was  also  specially  stipulated  that  he  did  not  take  deer,  nor 
course  in  the  king's  warrens.  On  3Oth  July  of  that  year,  the 
king  appointed  Walter  Waldeshef  to  the  bailiwick  of  the 
forestership  of  Ashdown,  on  condition  that  he  answered  for  the 
same  in  like  manner  as  his  predecessors.  Ashdown  was  a 
favourite  hunting  resort  of  James  I.,  and  it  was  well  stocked  with 
deer.  The  Parliamentary  Survey  of  its  seven  wards  is  extant, 
as  well  as  a  great  variety  of  papers  of  earlier  date.  The  his- 
tory of  this  and  the  other  forests  of  Sussex  yet  remains  to 
be  written,  though  certain  contributions  in  that  direction  were 
made  by  Mr.  W.  S.  Ellis  in  his  Parks  and  Forests  of  Sussex, 
published  in  1885. 

St.  Leonards  Forest  lies  north-east  of  Horsham,  and  forms 
part  of  the  great  parish  of  Beeching.  It  would  be  more  correct 
to  speak  of  St.  Leonards  Chace  ;  the  whole  body  of  the  forest 
law  never  prevailed  here,  as  it  was  granted  in  early  days  by 
the  Crown  to  the  Braose  family.  An  entry  in  the  Patent  Rolls 
of  ist  September,  1295,  relative  to  a  raid  in  this  district  on  deer, 
hares,  rabbits,  pheasants,  herons,  and  fish,  when  the  owner 
was  absent  on  the  king's  service  in  Wales,  styles  it  the  free 
chace  of  William  Braose,  called  the  forest  of  St.  Leonards 
(liberam  chaciam  Willelmi  de  Breiaosa  que  vocatur  foresta  sancti 
Leonardi}.  Four  years  later  a  like  entry  on  the  same  rolls  rela- 
tive to  deer  poaching  describes  it  as  the  free  chace  of  William 
Braose  at  St.  Leonards. 

The  forest  of  Arundel,  though  of  limited  extent,  was  well 
stocked,  and  formed  an  important  adjunct  of  the  honor  of 
Arundel.  The  forest  pertained  to  the  earls  of  Arundel,  as  is 


stated  in  the  Close  Rolls  of  1206,  but  during  a  long  minority 
in  the  time  of  Henry  III.,  and  again  in  the  time  of  Edward  I., 
came  under  the  control  of  the  Crown.  The  chief  point  of 
interest  in  its  history  is  the  disputes  that  arose  as  to  the  deer 
between  the  earls  and  the  archbishops  of  Canterbury,  who 
claimed  the  hunting.  There  was  an  appeal  to  Rome  on  the 
subject  in  1238,  and  it  was  not  until  1258  that  the  renewed  dis- 
putes were  finally  settled  by  an  agreement  that  the  archbishop 
might,  on  giving  notice  to  the  forest  ministers,  hunt  once  a  year 
when  going  to  or  returning  from  his  manor  of  Slindon,  with  six 
greyhounds,  but  with  no  other  kind  of  dogs,  nor  with  bows  ; 
and  that  if  more  than  one  beast  was  taken  by  the  party,  the 
remainder  were  to  be  handed  over  to  the  earl.  It  was  also 
stipulated  that  the  earl  and  his  heirs  should  annually  deliver 
thirteen  bucks  and  thirteen  does  to  the  archbishop  at  the 
proper  season. 



SO  much  that  is  good  of  its  kind  has  been  printed  concern- 
ing the  beautiful  district  of  the  New  Forest,  that  only  two 
or  three  pages  are  allotted  to  it  in  this  work.  Mr.  Wise's 
admirable  The  New  Forest ,  its  History  and  Scenery  (1863)  long 
remained  the  standard  book  on  the  subject;  but  two  more  recent 
works  have  corrected  some  errors  and  given  much  fresh  in- 
formation. One  of  these  is  the  joint  article  of  over  sixty  large 
pages,  by  the  Hon.  G.  W.  Lascelles  and  Mr.  Nisbet,  on 
Forestry  and  the  New  Forest  in  vol.  ii.  of  the  Victoria  History 
of  Hampshire  (1903);  and  the  other  is  the  wholly  delightful 
and  thorough  book,  rich  in  illustrations,  by  Mr.  Horace 
G.  Hutchinson,  which  was  published  in  1904.  To  this  may  be 
added  the  mention  of  a  good  article,  with  plans,  descriptive  of 
the  changing  area  of  the  forest,  with  its  laws  and  customs,  by 
the  late  Mr.  Moens,  which  appeared  in  the  Archceological 
Journal  for  March,  1903. 

The  New  Forest  may  be  described,  in  broad  terms,  as  the 
south-western  corner  of  Hants,  bounded  by  the  Southampton 
water  and  the  Solent  on  the  east  and  south,  and  by  the  Dorset 
and  Wilts  borders  on  the  west  and  north.  Its  extreme  length 
is  twenty-one  miles,  and  its  greatest  width  twelve  miles  ;  it 
covers  92,365  acres,  which  include  27,620  acres  of  private 
property.  Put  in  other  words,  this  means  that  the  Crown  or 
public  lands  of  the  New  Forest  consist  of  about  100  square 
miles,  whilst  the  private  lands  occupy  about  forty  square  miles. 
Within  this,  notwithstanding  the  considerable  extent  of  the 
woods,  are  several  great  stretching  heaths  and  many  an  un- 
timbered  glade. 




THE    FORESTS   OF    HAMPSHIRE        305 

In  Hampshire,  as  elsewhere,  the  Saxon  kings  reserved 
large  tracts  of  country,  well  supplied  as  a  rule  with  woods 
and  thickets,  for  the  purpose  of  sport  and  hunting,  whilst 
at  the  same  time  they  realised  the  importance  of  preserving 
the  woodlands  for  the  pannage  of  the  swine.  Under  the 
Conqueror,  the  New  Forest  increased  in  area,  and  had  its 
special  bounds  assigned  ;  but  stories  set  on  foot  by  early 
chroniclers  as  to  William's  reckless  cruelty  in  destroying 
scores  of  churches  and  burning  out  villages  for  the  sake 
of  hunting,  can  readily  be  shown  to  be  gross  and  absurd 
exaggerations.  The  later  story  of  this  forest,  as  set  forth 
by  Messrs.  Wise,  Lascelles,  and  Hutchinson,  is  a  tale  of 
continued  aggression  by  private  owners  and  by  squatters,  of 
grievous  jobbery  by  forest  officials,  of  Crown  mortgages, 
of  much  destruction  of  timber  and  deer,  and  finally  of  various 
parliamentary  inquiries  in  1831,  1850,  1875,  and  at  yet  more 
recent  dates.  The  forest  is  at  present  governed  by  the  Act 
of  1877.  Scotch  firs  and  pines  that  now  abound  were  first 
planted  here  in  1776. 

The  red  deer,  the  fallow  deer,  and  the  roe  deer  are  all  still 
present  in  the  New  Forest,  but  in  very  much  reduced  numbers; 
the  last-named  are  strays  that  first  found  their  way  here  from 
Milton,  Dorset,  in  1870.  In  the  days  when  Gilpin  wrote  his 
delightful  volumes  on  Forest  Scenery  (1790)  there  was  a  semi- 
wild  breed  of  bristly  pigs  in  parts  of  the  forest,  which  were 
supposed  to  be  hybrid  descendants  of  the  wild  boar  (Plate  VIL). 

Although  there  has  been  so  much  good  writing  on  the 
history  of  the  New  Forest,  there  are  sources  of  further  in- 
teresting and  original  history  at  the  Public  Record  Office 
which  no  one  has  hitherto  tapped.  Space  can  be  found  for 
only  a  few  instances  of  such  information. 

The  accounts  of  John  Randolf,  keeper  of  the  forest,  for  1306, 
show  that  there  was  much  of  pasturage  in  various  parts  of  the 
forest,  irrespective  of  general  rights  of  agistment.  There  was, 
for  instance,  considerable  sale  of  corn  and  hay  from  the  manor 
of  Lyndhurst  in  the  centre  of  the  forest ;  eight  oxen  of  that 
manor  were  sold  for  56^.  Iron  used  in  repair  of  the  farm  carts 
of  the  manor  cost  2s.  lod. ,  two  iron  plough-shoes  (for  tipping  the 
wooden  shares)  cost  8^.,  and  the  shoeing  of  two  cart-horses  i8d. 
The  full  accounts  for  this  year  are  beautifully  written  and  in 


most  excellent  condition  ;  no  antiquary  would  grudge  the 
wage  of  the  keeper's  clerk,  which  is  entered  as  one  mark, 
"according  to  ancient  custom."  The  keeper  himself  received 
a  salary  of  £10.  The  forest  tithe,  payable  to  the  church  of 
Salisbury,  was  ^4  3-r.  The  most  interesting  entry  of  that 
year  is  the  sum  of  £8  15^.  8^.,  which  was  expended  in  repairing 
the  court  house,  or  manor  house  of  Lyndhurst,  against  the 
coming  of  the  king — ut  patet  per  particuV — but  unfortunately 
the  particulars  are  lacking.  The  manor  house  of  Ringwood 
was  at  the  same  time  put  in  order  to  be  ready  for  the  royal 
advent ;  among  the  items  is  the  entry  of  a  supply  of  plaster 
of  Paris. 

Forest  pleas  for  the  New  Forest  were  held  at  Southampton 
on  Monday  next  after  the  Translation  of  St.  Thomas  the 
Martyr,  1330,  before  John  Mantravers.  On  the  first  day  of  the 
session,  which  extended  over  twenty-one  days,  no  fewer  than 
ninety-seven  essoins  or  excuses  for  non-attendance  were  put  in 
for  the  substantial  reason  of  death.  In  each  of  these  cases 
appearance  had  to  be  made  by  some  relative  or  other  qualified 
person  who  testified  to  the  death.  The  first  five  names  stand 
thus  :— 

"  Essoines  de  Morte 

Petrus  de  la  Hoese — per  Petrum  de  la  Hoese  militem. 

Walterus  Waleys — per  Willielmum  Loocras. 

Nicholas  de  Ivele — per  Rogerum  de  Ivele,  Forester  de  Wolmer. 

Walterus  atte  Broke — per  Nicholam  atte  Broke. 

Walterus  Stretchhose — per  Ricardum  Stretchhose." 

The  venison  pleas  of  the  New  Forest  were  presented  by  Sir 
William  de  Beauchamp,  keeper  of  the  forest,  for  the  term 
of  six  years,  in  conjunction  with  Andrew  de  Camerton,  his 
lieutenant,  and  John  de  Romsey,  John  de  Brymore,  Richard 
atte  Hanger,  and  John  Niernuyt,  verderers.  The  venison 
presentations  were  concerned  with  the  death  of  22  does,  10 
bucks,  3  hinds,  2  harts,  and  6  fawns,  in  addition  to  several 
cases  in  which  the  numbers  of  the  head  of  game  taken  off  were 
unknown.  The  fines  imposed  for  these  venison  trespasses  by 
the  justices  varied  from  i2d.  to  2os.  The  number  of  such 
cases  is  by  no  means  excessive,  considering  that  the  oldest 
offence  went  back  to  1284.  It  must  also  be  remembered  that 

THE    FORESTS   OF    HAMPSHIRE        307 

there  must  have  been  numerous  cases  struck  out,  because  the 
delinquent  or  delinquents  were  dead.  One  of  the  more  excep- 
tional and  interesting  cases  is  that  of  two  poachers  who,  in 
July,  1325,  hunted  in  the  New  Forest  with  nine  greyhounds 
and  a  mastiff,  killing  two  does  and  a  fawn  ;  they  loaded  them 
on  a  white  mare,  when  they  were  attached  by  the  foresters  and 
committed,  together  with  the  mare,  which  was  of  the  value 
of  5-r.,  to  the  custody  of  Simon  de  Wynton,  the  sheriff  of  the 
county.  When  the  eyre  was  held  Simon  was  called  upon 
not  only  to  account  for  his  prisoners,  but  for  the  5-s1.,  the 
value  of  the  mare.  But  Sheriff  Simon  was  dead,  and  Sir 
Richard  de  Wynton,  who  held  his  lands,  had  to  put  in  an 
appearance  and  hand  over  the  value  of  the  white  mare  to  the 

The  list  of  presentments  of  vert  trespassers  is  a  very  long 
one,  covering  both  sides  of  four  membranes.  It  opens  with 
two  cases,  in  one  of  which  three  beeches,  worth  3^.,  had  been 
felled,  and  in  the  other  two  oaks,  worth  2^.;  in  each  instance, 
the  offender  had  to  pay  izd.  fine,  the  value  having  pre- 
viously been  paid  at  the  local  woodmote  court.  The  usual 
value  put  on  oaks,  roers,  and  beeches  was  is.  each.  Occa- 
sionally the  oaks  must  have  been  of  considerable  size  ;  in  one 
case  an  oak  was  valued  at  2S.,  and  in  another  at  3$.  ^d.  A  cart- 
load of  green  wood  of  white  thorn  was  valued  at  6d. 

The  following  is  a  copy  of  a  warrant  for  timber  from  Beau- 
lieu,  addressed  by  Henry  VII.  to  the  Earl  of  Arundel,  the 
keeper  of  the  New  Forest : — 

"By  the  king 

"We  wil  and  charge  you  that  unto  our  trusty  and  right  wel- 
beloved  Cousin  the  erl  of  Ormond  or  unto  the  bringer  herof  in  his 
name  ye  deliver  or  doo  to  be  delivered  twelf  Okes  convenable  for 
tymbre  to  be  taken  within  our  Baiffship  of  Bewley  in  cure  Forest 
called  the  New  Forest  or  in  such  places  within  the  same  Forest 
as  oure  said  Cousin  shall  thinke  moost  metely  and  convenient  for  him, 
and  these  oure  lettres  shalbe  yor  Warrant.  Geven  undre  oure 
signet  at  oure  Citie  of  Winchestere  the  xix  dey  of  October  the  second 
yere  of  oure  Reign. 

"To  or  Right  trusty  and  right  welbeloved  Cousin  Therl  of 
Arundell  warden  of  our  Newe  Forest  in  our  Countie  of  Suth'ton 
and  to  his  Lieutenant  and  keepers  there." 


Among  the  presentments  at  an  eyre  temp.  Henry  VII.  are 
the  following  : — 

"The  bayly  of  goddyshell  shewyth  that  John  Colend  the  bayly  of 
Godshyll  Kellyd  a  bukke  in  Somer  in  the  viijth  yere  of  Kyng  Henry 
the  vijth  and  a  doo  the  same  somer  wyth  a  Arrowe  and  caryed  awaye 
the  Flesshe  wythowte  lycens  of  ony  keper.  Item  the  same  John 
Colend  kylled  a  hert  in  the  sayd  baylywekke  with  an  Arrowe  in  the 
yere  aforesayd  and  caryed  away  the  flesshe  withowte  lycens  of  ony 

"  In  the  viijth  yere  of  ye  regne  of  Kyng  Henry  the  vijth  ye  xijth  day 


of  Junii  Rychard  Carter  yoman  of  Bewly  come  into  the  Este  bayly 
and  there  he  toke  a  rede  dere  and  caryed  it  away. 

"  Ind  that  Sr  Wylliam  Holmes,  prest  of  Sarum,  come  into  the  bayly 
at  Fytcham  the  Monday  next  aftyr  holy  Rode  day  the  viijth  yere  of 
Kyng  Henry  the  vijth  and  there  wyth  hys  greyhundys  kellyd  a  Sowre 
wythowte  leve  of  ony  keper. 

"Also  Rychard  Kymbrege  of  Mychwood  kylled  ij  hyndes  calves 
wyth  hys  howndys  wyth  owte  leve  of  ony  keper  in  the  vijth  yere 
of  Kyng  henry. 

"  Ind  that  Sr  Edward  Wellyby,  prest,  came  into  the  bayly  at 
Fyrtham  the  Satyrday  next  after  Saynt  Bartylmewes  day  the 
viijtu  yere  of  Kyng  Henry  the  vijth  and  there  wyth  hys  grehowyds 

THE    FORESTS   OF    HAMPSHIRE        309 

kylled  iij  bukkys,  a  preket  and  a  doo  wyth  owte  ony  lycens  or  autoryte 
of  ony  keper. 

"  Presentyd  by  a  offycer  that  one  Robart  Dyer  otherwise  called 
Robart  Foster  the  xvth  day  of  October  the  viijth  yere  of  Kyng  Henry 
the  vijth  come  into  the  Newe  Forest  that  is  to  say  to  Fette  Thurnes 
within  the  bayly  of  Battramsley  and  there  fellyd  and  caryed  away 
the  nowmbyr  of  xij  lode  of  grene  thurnes.  The  said  prisoner  appered 
and  deposed  the  contrary  .  .  .  and  put  in  plege  for  his  fyne." 

The  last  of  these  extracts  refers  to  a  hard  case  when  Charles  I. 
was  attempting  to  revive  forest  law. 

In  November,  1639,  Henry  Earl  of  Holland,  chief  justice 
in  eyre,  reduced  on  petition  the  fine  of  .£30  for  a  venison 
offence  in  the  New  Forest  in  the  case  of  one  Harmon  Rogers 
to  £5,  and  ordered  his  release  from  prison  on  giving  sureties 
to  be  of  good  behaviour  towards  the  forest.  The  petition  set 
forth  that  Harmon  was 

"a  miserable  poore  man  in  lamentable  distresse,  hath  a  poore  wife 
and  vij  small  children,  had  great  losse  by  fire,  one  of  his  children  is 
a  creeple,  hath  a  blind  man  to  his  father  that  wholly  lyeth  upon  him, 
hath  been  twice  imprisoned  for  this  one  fault,  and  in  his  present 
durance  is  ready  to  starve  for  want  of  food  and  so  are  his  children 
at  home,  at  this  present  30  li  in  debt,  and  hath  no  meanes  in  the  world 
to  releive  himself  his  blind  father  wife  and  vij  childrene  but  his  pain- 
full  labour  and  never  did  or  will,  as  God  shall  help  him,  commit  any 
fault  or  offense  against  his  Majesties  game  but  onely  one. " 


In  addition  to  the  New  Forest,  Hampshire  had  two  other 
large  forest  areas — Alice  Holt  and  Woolmer,  and  the  forest 
of  Bere. 

Alice  Holt,  a  comparatively  modern  and  unfortunate  cor- 
ruption of  Axisholt,  and  Woolmer,  though  apparently  always 
separated  by  a  small  strip  of  non-forest  land,  were  practically 
one,  and  formed  a  considerable  stretch  of  country,  chiefly  wood- 
land, on  the  borders  of  Surrey  and  Sussex.  They  were  almost 
invariably  under  the  same  general  control,  though  having 
their  separate  minor  forest  ministers.  Thus,  in  1217,  Axis- 
holt  and  Wulvemar  formed  one  bailiwick  in  the  charge  of 
Robert  de  Venoit,  and  again,  in  the  beginning  of  Edward  I.'s 


reign,  both  Alice  Holt  and  Woolmer  forests  were  under  the 
same  keeper,  Adam  Gurdon.  They  seem  to  have  been  well 
stocked  with  both  red  and  fallow  deer,  and  also  heavily  tim- 
bered. Adam  Gurdon,  in  1273,  had  to  deliver  two  bucks  at 
Windsor  Castle,  as  the  king's  children  were  staying  there.  In 
1276  and  1277  the  same  keeper  was  instructed  to  give  facilities 
to  a  royal  huntsman  who  was  sent  down  with  his  dogs  to  take 
harts  for  the  king's  household  in  the  forests  of  Alice  Holt  and 
Woolmer  ;  and  in  the  following  year  he  had  to  dispatch 
thirty  oaks  fit  for  timber  towards  the  rebuilding  of  Winchester 

The  sixth  report  of  the  woods  and  forests  commission,  issued 
in  1790,  devotes  eighty-eight  folio  pages  to  these  two  Hamp- 
shire forests.  The  commissioners  cite  the  perambulation  of 
this  joint  forest  made  in  1300  as  reduced  from  the  wider  limits 
of  earlier  reigns.  A  perambulation  of  1 1  Charles  I.  gives 
practically  the  same  bounds.  The  whole  area  within  the 
forest  is  returned  as  15,493  acres,  but  of  that  quantity  6,799 
acres  were  in  private  hands.  Reference  is  made  to  a  justice 
seat  held  n  Charles  I.,  and  to  swainmote  courts  in  the 
reigns  of  James  I.  and  Charles  I.  The  administration  and 
customs  of  the  forest  corresponded  with  the  general  use. 
Since  the  year  1777  the  timber  had  been  very  largely  used  for 
the  navy  ;  it  was  taken  by  road,  about  ten  miles,  to  Godal- 
ming,  where  the  river  Wey  was  navigable,  and  thence  to  the 
dockyards  on  the  Thames.  The  lieutenant  of  the  forest 
(Lord  Stawell)  considered  the  deer  his  own,  There  were  then 
about  800  fallow  deer  in  Alice  Holt ;  the  red  deer  used  to  be 
found  in  Woolmer  Forest,  but  the  latter  were  removed  to 
Windsor  about  1760.  In  the  appendix  there  is  a  list  of  the 
lieutenants  or  keepers  of  the  forest  from  45  Elizabeth,  and 
very  full  particulars  as  to  the  sale,  extent,  and  value  of  the 
timber.  All  kinds  of  cattle  were  admitted  to  pasture  save 


The  forest  of  Bere  extended  northwards  from  the  Portsdown 
Hills.  According  to  a  perambulation  made  in  1688,  it  included 
about  16,000  acres.  The  southern  ward,  in  early  days,  often 
went  by  the  name  of  Porchester  forest. 

THE    FORESTS   OF    HAMPSHIRE        311 

When  pleas  of  this  forest  were  held  in  September,  1490, 
at  Winchester,  it  was  returned  that  Sir  George  Nevill  was 
keeper ;  Sir  James  Awdley,  lieutenant ;  Ralph  Shorter, 
forester,  and  John  Wilton,  his  deputy ;  William  Knight, 
ranger ;  and  William  Froste  and  John  Hamond,  verderers. 
William  Mody  and  his  fellows  were  present  as  regarders,  and 
there  were  two  juries  sworn  of  the  men  of  the  hundreds  of 
Somborne  and  Buddlesgate. 

For  fee  timber  Richard  Curson,  as  deputy  of  the  justices, 
received  six  beeches  ;  the  keeper,  two  roers,  and  his  deputy, 
a  beech  ;  the  lieutenant,  a  roer  ;  the  ranger,  a  beech  ;  each 
verderer,  an  oak  and  a  beech  ;  the  regarders,  two  beeches  and 
and  a  roer  ;  the  two  sessional  clerks,  four  beeches  ;  and  the 
under-sheriff,  a  roer.  Richard  Curson  also  received  a  buck. 

At  a  swainmote  of  West  Bere,  held  on  5th  June,  1475, 
before  John  Whitehede  and  John  Hamond,  the  verderers, 
Robert  Bailly,  forester,  presented  that  John  Ewerby,  lord  of 
Farley,  claimed  to  have  the  right  to  deer  that  escaped  into  his 
lordship,  and  that  he  had  killed  several  head  at  Hambledon 
and  Queentree. 

At  another  swainmote,  held  on  ist  June,  1488,  before 
William  Frost  and  John  Hamond,  verderers,  Robert  Bailly, 
the  forester,  again  presented  the  lord  of  Farley  for  having 
killed  several  does  and  fawns  in  the  previous  August  in  the 
woods  of  West  Bere.  He  also  presented  Richard  Mathew, 
lately  parish  chaplain  of  Sparsholt,  and  then  living  at  Crawley, 
for  having  killed  a  doe  with  bow  and  arrows.  A  more  serious 
charge  was  preferred  against  a  yeoman  and  a  miller  of  Win- 
chester, who  with  a  large  number  of  disorderly  persons  hunted 
the  forest  with  greyhounds  and  two  other  kinds  of  dogs, 
namely  "  rachys  et  kenettes,"  to  the  grave  destruction  of  the 

The  woods  and  forests  commissioners'  thirteenth  report, 
issued  in  1792,  is  devoted  to  this  forest.  It  is  described  as  in 
the  south-east  part  of  the  county  and  within  eight  miles  of 
Portsmouth.  The  perambulation  of  1300  is  printed  in  the 
appendix.  The  forest  was  then  divided  into  two  walks,  the 
East  and  the  West.  Following  the  boundaries  laid  down  in 
1688,  the  commissioners  estimated  the  area  as  at  least  twenty- 
five  square  miles,  about  a  third  of  which  was  enclosed,  and 


the  rest  open  forest  land.  The  parishes  within  the  forest  and 
certain  neighbouring  ones  turned  out  horses,  horned  cattle, 
and  ringed  swine  at  all  times  of  the  year,  but  no  sheep.  The 
officers  were  a  warden-in-fee  by  Crown  grant ;  four  verderers, 
chosen  by  the  county  freeholders  ;  a  ranger,  a  steward  of  the 
swainmote  court,  and  two  keepers  for  each  walk,  all  appointed 
by  the  warden  during  pleasure  ;  twelve  regarders  chosen,  if 
required  by  the  county  freeholders;  and  two  agisters  appointed 
annually,  at  the  swainmote  court.  There  were  about  200 
fallow  deer  in  the  East  Walk,  and  about  fifty  in  the  West 
Walk.  A  court  book  was  extant  from  the  year  1685,  but  no 
court  had  been  held  since  1769,  when  it  could  not  be  opened 
as  no  verderers  attended.  Extensive  encroachments  were 
being  made,  and  the  timber  and  underwood  of  the  Crown 
lands  comparatively  unguarded.  The  commissioners  strongly 
urged  that  the  district  should  be  disafforested.  The  under- 
keeper  of  the  West  Walk  testified  that  until  recently  the  deer 
were  regularly  browsed  with  "holly,  ivy,  and  the  tops  of 
thorn  bushes,  when  the  season  required  it." 

Reference  is  made  in  the  general  section  on  later  forest 
history  to  the  great  chase  or  park  that  pertained  to  the  Bishops 
of  Winchester  at  Waltham. 




THERE  is  clear  evidence  that  the  forest  of  Clarendon, 
Wilts,  formed  part  of  the  royal  demesne  in  pre-Norman 
days.  The  nuns  of  Wilton,  at  the  time  of  the  Domesday 
Survey,  had  a  customary  right  in  the  wood  of  Milchet  to  four- 
score loads  of  firewood,  pannage  for  fourscore  swine,  together 
with  as  much  timber  as  was  requisite  for  keeping  their  houses 
and  fences  in  repair.  The  parks  of  Milchet  and  Buckholt  and 
the  forest  of  Panshet  were  original  members  of  Clarendon 
forest  according  to  the  thirteenth-century  Hundred  Rolls.  In 
the  interesting  account  given  in  Hoare's  county  history,  it  is 
stated  that  the  earliest  general  view  of  this  forest  is  to  be  found 
in  these  rolls  of  the  end  of  Henry  III.  and  beginning  of  Edward  I. 
But  this  is  scarcely  correct,  for  the  Close  Rolls  of  the  early  part 
of  the  reign  of  Henry  III.  abound  in  references  to  the  forest  and 
its  component  members,  as  might  naturally  be  expected  from 
the  fact  of  Clarendon  being  such  a  favourite  residence  of  our 
kings  in  the  thirteenth  century. 

The  timber  of  the  forest  was  a  great  boon  to  the  district, 
and  freely  granted  by  the  king  for  ecclesiastical  and  other 
purposes.  Six  oaks  were  granted  in  1222  to  Gilbert  de  Lacy 
for  building  a  chapel  in  his  court  at  Britford ;  in  1223, 
fourteen  large  pieces  of  timber  (vj  posies  iiij  pannas  et  iiij 
*solivas)  from  the  rootfallen  or  cablish  trees  to  make  a  granary 
at  Eblebourn  ;  in  1224,  all  the  cablish  timber,  not  yet  sold, 
for  the  fabric  of  the  cathedral  church  of  New  Sarum,  which 
had  been  begun  four  years  before  ;  in  1230,  three  oaks  to  the 
prioress  of  Amesbury  for  making  the  nuns'  stalls,  and  five 
oaks  to  help  the  Franciscan  friars  in  building  their  house  at 
Salisbury;  and  in  1231,  five  good  oaks  out  of  Milchet  wood 



for  the  abbess  of  Romsey  to  make  planks  for  the  dormitory, 
and  two  oaks  for  the  prioress  of  Amesbury  to  mend  the  quire 
stalls.  As  to  wood  for  fuel,  the  Bishop  of  Salisbury  obtained 
a  grant  of  forty  loads  in  1224;  Walter  Fitz-Peter  obtained 
three  dead  trees  (tria  bona  sicca  robora  folia  non  ferentid)  for 
his  hearth,  in  1230;  and  the  nuns  of  Amesbury  five  loads  of 
firewood  in  1233,  in  addition  to  their  customary  privilege  of 

During  the  like  period  the  orders  for  timber  from  this 
forest  for  the  works  at  the  palace  and  park  of  Clarendon  were 
numerous,  and  in  1223,  after  the  great  gale,  the  large  sum 
of  £40  from  the  sale  of  the  rootfallen  trees  of  this  forest 
was  appropriated  to  the  works  at  Winchester  Castle. 

Among  the  grants  of  deer  from  this  forest,  may  be  mentioned 
a  grant  in  1223  of  hunting  ten  bucks  to  the  Earl  of  Salisbury, 
and  a  gift  of  four  does  to  the  Bishop  of  Salisbury  in  the 
following  year.  In  1228  one  Savory  de  Malo  Leone  had  a 
royal  grant  from  Clarendon  of  five  live  does;  and  in  1229 
William  Earl  of  Pembroke  obtained'' twenty  Clarendon  does 
towards  stocking  his  park  at  Hampstead.  The  supply  of 
fallow  deer  was  evidently  considerable  in  this  forest,  but  there 
is  no  record  of  red  deer. 

At  an  inquisition  of  the  hundred  of  Alderbury,  in  1255,  the 
jurors  returned  that  the  forest  of  Clarendon  was  well  warded, 
but  that  the  park  of  Milchet  was  then  waste  through  the  king's 
frequent  gifts  and  sales,  and  through  supplying  the  works  at 
Clarendon  and  Salisbury.  The  jurors  of  1275  returned  that 
the  king  held  this  forest  in  his  own  hands.  John  de 
Grymstede  held  the  manor  of  Plaitford  by  serjeanty  of 
warding  the  park  of  Milchet ;  Jordan  de  Laverstoke  held 
land  at  Laverstoke,  and  Edmund  de  Milford  at  Milford 
by  finding  respectively  a  forester  for  Clarendon  ;  and  Henry 
de  Heyraz  by  finding  a  keeper  for  the  king's  running  hounds 
(canes  heyricii]. 

The  royal  gifts  and  orders  as  to  wood  from  Clarendon  forest 
were  almost  as  profuse  in  Edward  I.'s  time  as  in  that  of  his 
predecessor,  particularly  at  the  beginning  of  his  reign.  In 
1275,  the  king  granted  four  oaks  to  the  priory  of  Mottisfont, 
and  six  oaks  to  one  William  de  Fennes,  as  well  as  ordering 
twenty  oaks  out  of  Milchet  wood  for  joists  (gistas)  and  eight 


oaks  for  shingles  (cindulas]  for  the  works  at  Clarendon.  In 
1276,  the  bailiff  of  Clarendon  forest  had  orders  to  supply  the 
sheriff  of  Wilts  with  four  oaks  fit  for  timber,  to  enable  him  to 
rebuild  the  king's  mill  under  the  castle  of  Old  Sarum,  which 
had  been  thrown  down  by  the  force  of  the  river  ;  thirty  oaks 
were  granted  to  the  abbess  of  Wilton  towards  the  building  of 
her  church,  and  ten  cartloads  of  brushwood  to  the  Domini- 
cans of  Wilton.  In  the  same  year  orders  were  given  for 
supplying  forty  oaks  for  shingles  for  roofing  the  new  works  at 
Clarendon,  and  also  sixty  beams  of  timber  to  make  rafters 
(chevrones\  for  Queen  Eleanor,  to  be  used  in  the  buildings 
at  Lyndhurst.  In  1277,  the  queen  had  a  further  grant  of 
twenty  oaks  out  of  Milchet  park  to  make  laths  (latas]  for  the 
use  of  her  manor  house  of  Lyndhurst,  of  the  king's  gift.  It  is 
curious  to  find  timber  being  imported  into  the  centre  of  the 
New  Forest ;  it  seems  to  imply  that  there  was  at  that  date  very 
little  wood  suitable  for  timber  in  the  great  Hampshire  forest. 

The  grants  of  timber  were  not  so  numerous  in  the  reign  of 
Edward  II.  Among  them  may  be  mentioned  orders  to  the 
keeper  of  Clarendon  forest,  in  1320-1,  to  deliver  to  the 
sheriff  for  the  repair  of  the  king's  water-mills  below  the  castle 
of  Old  Sarum  thirty  oaks  and  twenty  beeches.  The  beeches 
were  to  be  felled  in  Buckholt  wood,  and  as  there  are  other 
references  to  the  beeches  of  Buckholt  in  the  reigns  of 
Richard  II.,  Edward  IV.,  and  Henry  VII.,  it  seems  likely  that 
Buckholt  was  almost  if  not  entirely  a  wood  of  beeches. 

The  adjacent  small  forest  of  Groveley  was  attached  to  that  of 
Clarendon  early  in  the  fourteenth  century.  A  return  of  the 
sales  of  the  underwood  for  the  last  four  years  is  entered  on  the 
Great  Roll  at  Michaelmas,  1333.  It  was  evidently  the  habit  to 
clear  out  the  undergrowth  of  a  certain  number  of  acres,  re- 
presenting different  sized  coppices  each  year.  The  following 
is  a  table  of  the  sales  and  average.  The  total  for  the  four  years 
is  £116  15-$-.  \o\d.  : — 


£     s.     d. 

£    s.      d. 


...  25  acres 

.  20  19     8 

8  acres 



...  27     ,, 

..21       50 

24     ,,       ir.   . 



•••  30     ,, 

..    22    19      8 

12     ,,      3r.   . 

..  2  17     4! 


...  40     ,,       ir.   . 

••  33  15     8 

23     n      3r«   • 



The  yearly  sale  of  this  undergrowth  must  have  been  a  boon 
to  the  neighbourhood,  for  where  particular  records  of  sales 
exist,  as  they  do  among  the  Exchequer  accounts  for  most  of  the 
reign  of  Edward  III.,  it  is  found  that  the  wood  was  purchased 
as  a  rule  in  quite  small  lots.  Thus,  in  1346,  when  the  wood  of 
the  coppice  by  Canonpath,  close  to  the  small  priory  of  Ivy- 
church,  which  stood  within  the  forest,  was  sold  for  £17  yj.  id., 
there  were  forty-three  purchases,  the  largest  sum  being 
26s.  8d. 

An  indenture  made  at  the  market  of  Salisbury  in  1360, 
between  Robert  Russel,  lieutenant  of  Roger  Earl  March, 
keeper  of  the  forest  and  park  of  Clarendon,  and  the  two  ver- 
derers  of  the  same,  with  regard  to  the  sale  of  oak  and  beech  at 
Buckholt,  mention  is  made  of  the  foresters  who  had  to  be 
maintained.  They  were  eight  in  number,  namely,  two  each 
for  the  forests  of  Buckholt  and  Groveley,  one  for  the  park  of 
Milchet,  and  three  for  the  park  of  Clarendon  ;  their  pay  was 
to  be  at  the  rate  of  2d.  a  day.  There  were  also  two  labourers 
at  \\d.  a  day,  whose  chief  duty  it  was  to  keep  the  pales  or 
park  fence  in  order.  In  one  document  of  this  date  these  men 
are  termed  "palyers,"  and  at  a  later  date  "  palers."  It  is 
stipulated  that  all  these  men  were  to  be  paid  by  the  verderers 
at  the  rate  of  365  days  to  the  year  ;  that  is  to  say,  their  wages 
were  due  for  Sundays  and  holy  days  as  well  as  on  working 
days.  Several  accounts  of  the  reigns  of  Edward  III.  and 
Richard  II.  show  a  large  expenditure  on  hay  for  the  sustenance 
of  the  deer  during  the  winter.  This  was  quite  an  exceptional 
forest  expense,  and  only  resorted  to  for  the  game  in  forests  or 
parks  frequented  by  royalty.  For  the  most  part  their  winter 
food  consisted  of  the  deer-browse  or  clippings  from  the  forest 

The  dean  and  chapter  of  Salisbury  had  the  tithe  of  the 
venison  of  this  forest  granted  to  them  by  charter  of  Henry  II., 
confirmed  by  several  subsequent  kings.  There  is  an  entry 
among  the  chapter  records  of  the  arrival  of  fifteen  deer  for 
the  cathedral  clergy  in  one  year  of  Richard  II.'s  reign,  when 
the  capture  of  deer  had  amounted  to  150. 

The  records  of  several  large  forests,  where  they  must  have 
abounded,  are  destitute  of  any  reference  to  conies  or  rabbits. 
But  in  the  case  of  Clarendon  they  were  repeatedly  mentioned 


in  the  fourteenth  and  fifteenth  centuries,  and  once  or  twice  in 
the  thirteenth  century.  In  the  time  of  Edward  III.  the  warrens 
seem  to  have  been  the  perquisite  of  the  chief  keeper.  In  1495 
the  sum  of  £100  received  of  the  "  Fermour  of  the  Coneys  in 
Clarendon "  was  an  item  of  the  revenue  assigned  for  the 
expenses  of  the  king's  household.  In  the  time  of  Charles  I. 
the  warrens  were  worth  upwards  of  ,£200  a  year. 

Parliament  was  petitioned  in  1388  by  the  commonalty  and 
inhabitants  of  Salisbury  complaining  that  the  forest  officials 
of  Clarendon  had  of  late  years  appointed  certain  of  the  citizens 
to  act  as  vendors  of  the  underwood,  to  their  great  damage  and 
annoyance,  and  praying  relief.  A  favourable  reply  was  given, 
to  the  effect  that  such  duties  were  never  to  be  imposed  on  those 
living  outside  the  forest  bounds,  save  by  the  king's  special 

Detailed  accounts  are  extant  for  the  year  1442  of  the  wood 
sales  at  Buckholt  and  Milchet.  They  were  sent  up  to  London 
in  a  leather  bag  or  wallet,  in  which  they  still  remain  in  excel- 
lent condition  (Accts.  Exch.,  Q.R.  ^y).  Richard  Ambros  and 
William  Colyn  were  this  year  instructed  to  fell  400  beeches  in 
Buckholt  and  200  oaks  in  Milchet  for  the  repairs  of  the 
manor  houses,  lodges,  and  park  pales.  Sir  John  Stourton 
was  at  that  time  lieutenant  to  the  Duke  of  Gloucester,  who 
was  keeper.  The  schedule  shows  that  the  beeches  realised 
from  2s.  to  2s.  6d.  each  ;  two  selling  for  5^. ,  four  for  8s.,  six  for 
14^.,  ten  for  zos.,  another  ten  for  25^.,  one  for  2s.  4^.,  etc. 
The  oaks  were  sold  in  larger  lots,  five  in  all  ;  three  lots  of 
sixty  each  all  realised  £4.  IOT.,  whilst  two  lots  of  ten  were  sold 
for  a  total  of  30^. 

A  warrant  to  the  sheriff  of  Wilts  of  i  Richard  III.  (1483) 
charged  him  to  pay  to  the  seven  keepers  of  the  forests  and 
parks  of  Clarendon,  Buckholt,  Milchet,  and  Groveley  zd.  a 
day,  and  to  the  two  parkers  of  the  park  of  Clarendon  id.  a  day 
for  their  wages.  The  sheriff  was  also  to  buy  yearly  in  the 
summer  season  "as  moche  haye  as  shall  amounte  unto  the 
some  of  x/z  or  within,"  which  was  to  be  stored  for  winter  use 
in  the  barn  of  the  park. 

Clarendon  swainmotes  held  during  the  year  1487  include 
presentments  for  carrying  off  iiij  palebordys  de  la  Parke  pale  de 
Clarendon;  pasturing  six  pigs;  killing  a  doe  and  fawn  with 


greyhounds  ;  and  for  being  a  common  hunter  both  by  day  and 
night  with  ferrets  and  snares.  Among  the  officials  present  at 
the  Clarendon  swainmotes  were  two  palers  (palatiarii},  who 
were  responsible  for  the  due  upholding  of  the  park  fence. 

On  2ist  August,  1487,  the  forest  pleas  for  this  forest  and  its 
members  was  held  at  New  Sarum  before  Justices  Ratcliffe 
and  Grey. 

An  interval  of  eighteen  years  had  elapsed  since  the  pleas 
had  been  held,  for  the  last  justice  seat  was  in  9  Edward  IV. 
(1469).  The  attendance  of  officials  of  Clarendon  forest  or 
park  was  considerable  :  Thomas  Arundell,  the  keeper ;  Sir 
T.  Milborne,  the  lieutenant,  and  Walter  Parker  his  deputy  ; 
Roger  Holes,  the  ranger,  and  John  Mue  his  deputy  ;  John 
Shotter,  the  launder,  and  William  Foster  his  deputy  ;  the  four 
foresters,  one  for  each  of  the  four  bailies  ;  the  two  verderers, 
Roger  Bulkeley  and  Druce  Mompesson,  both  entered  as 
esquires  ;  four  woodwards  ;  and  twelve  regarders. 

For  the  forest  or  park  of  Milchet  there  were  a  separate  set 
of  officials  :  Edmund  Earl  of  Arundel  was  the  keeper,  and 
there  were  also  a  deputy  lieutenant,  two  verderers,  two 
rangers  and  a  forester,  as  well  as  woodwards  and  regarders. 

There  were  also  present  woodwards  of  three  outlying 
districts,  and  one  for  the  forest  of  Groveley,  together  with  the 
bailiffs  of  five  different  hundreds  wherein  parts  of  the  forests 
of  Clarendon  and  Milchet  were  situated.  The  whole  list  was 
signed  by  Sir  John  Turbervyle,  the  sheriff,  who  was,  of  course, 
bound  to  meet  the  justices. 

The  customary  perquisites  of  the  officials  were  enumerated. 
The  keeper  of  Clarendon  was  entitled  each  year  to  one  roer 
and  two  bucks,  and  each  forester  and  ranger  to  a  roer  and 
two  oaks.  For  Milchet  the  verderers  had  two  roers  and  a 
buck,  the  forester  one  roer  and  his  deputy  the  same,  the 
ranger  one  roer,  the  regarders  a  buck  and  a  roer  to  be  divided 
among  them,  and  the  clerk  of  the  Her  two  roers. 

The  Austin  priory  of  Ivychurch,  founded  by  Henry  II. 
within  the  forest  of  Clarendon,  appears  to  have  been  estab- 
lished for  the  twofold  object  of  providing  a  spiritual  centre  for 
the  denizens  of  the  forest,  and  for  the  needs  of  the  royal 
household  at  their  Clarendon  seat.  Various  early  charters 
provide  for  the  canons  being  held  responsible  for  the  religious 


services  in  the  several  Clarendon  chapels.  In  addition  to 
early  general  grants  of  pasturage  which  the  canons  enjoyed 
throughout  the  forest,  Henry  III.,  in  1252,  provided  that  they 
should  have  in  every  year  that  the  forest  was  agisted  twenty 
swine  with  their  litters  to  feed  on  the  mast,  free  of  pannage 
charges,  provided  they  were  ringed  ;  but  there  were  to  be 
no  pigs  allowed  in. the  forest  during  those  years  when  it  was 
not  agisted.  Four  years  later  the  king  granted  them  a  piece 
of  ground  of  considerable  size  adjoining  their  priory,  known 
by  the  unattractive  name  of  Filthycroft,  with  leave  to  enclose 
it  with  ditch  and  hedge,  but  only  in  accord  with  the  fixed 
custom  of  the  forest  that  permitted  of  the  entrance  and  return 
of  a  deer  and  her  fawns  at  due  seasons.  Edward  II.,  in  1317, 
granted  the  priory  right  of  pasturage  in  the  forest  for  forty 
bulls  and  cows  at  a  rental  of  56^. 

The  following  interesting  memorandum  of  warrant  venison 
and  vert  since  the  last  iter  was  presented  to  the  justices  at 
the  1487  pleas  by  the  lieutenant  of  the  forest  : — 

Md  of  waruntes  shewed  by  the  leuetenaunte  of  Claryngdon  for 
veneson  and  verde  in  Claryngdon 

by  waruntes  of  King  Edward  [iv] 

j  buk  the  xth  yere  of  his  reygne 

ij  bukkes  the  xiiij          ,, 

xij  doyn  the  xvj  ,, 

ij  bukkes  the  xvij         ,, 

iij  bukkes  the  xviij       ,, 

j  buk  ye  xxfi  ,, 

ij  bukes  the  same  yere 

iiij  bukkes  the  same  yer 

j  buk  the  same  yere 


iij  (60)  quicke  dere  ye  xxjth  yere 
xix  doyn  the  same  yere 


ij  ccix  (2209)  ded  in  moreyn  the  same  yere 

A  buk  by  warante  w*out  date 

vj  lodes  of  quicke  dere  the  xxijth  yere 

ij  bukkes  the  xxjth  yere 

xx  doys  the  xxij  yere 

j  herte  and  ij  bukkes  ye  xiiijtb  yere 


By  warant  of  the    Erie  of  Essex,  Justice  of  Forest  in  Claryngdon 
and  the  members  to  ye  same 

xij  Rowers  by  severall  warrantes  ye  xvij  yere  of  K.  E 

j  warante  for  the  home  copis  in  Claryngdon  A°  xviij 

j  warante  for  the  old  parke  A°  xxi 

j  warante  for  xu  of  trees  in  Claryngdon  A°  xxij 

j  warante  for  viij  marke  of  trees  in  Claryngdon  A°  xix 

j  warante  for  vj11  [worth  of  trees]  Bukholte  A°  xiiij 

By  warant  of  William  Erie  of  Arundell,  Justice  of  Foreste 

j  warante  for  Calumhill  copis  A°  pr°  Ric  tercij 

j  warante  for  ye  logiis  of  Assheldy  and  Cheveley  A°  ij  R. 

j  warante  for  x"  of  trees  in  Claryndon  A°  ij  H.  vij 

j  warante  for  ye  copis  of  vij  Rales  in  Claryngdon  A°  ij  H.  vij 

By  warantey  of  Kyng  Richard. 

xx  doys  the  ijd  yere  of  his  reigne 

c  trees  for  to  make  Salte  peter  and  Gunepowder 

By  warantes  of  Kyng  Harry  the  vijtb 

xij  doys  the  firste  yere  of  his  reigne 
xviij  doys  the  same  yer 
xx  doys  the  iijd  yer  of  his  reigne 
As  many  trees  as  drawith  to  xxh 

The  Crown,  in  1576,  called  upon  the  regarders  of  Milchet, 
Richard  Bacon  and  Thomas  Gauntlett,  to  return  certificates  in 
reply  to  articles  of  interrogation  which  had  been  forwarded  to 
them.  The  following  are  their  answers,  the  more  important 
or  interesting  parts  being  cited  verbatim  : — 

"  We  do  saye  that  ther  ys  remaynynge  in  the  Custody  of  one  of  us 
one  Sealynge  axe  withe  a  peculye  mark  and  one  Bagge  wheryn  the 
Same  Axe  ys  Kepte. 

"That  Richard  Audley  Esquire,  the  Keeper  of  the  Forest  of 
Milchet,  claims  the  windfall,  and  hath  also  taken  five  '  rotefall '  trees, 
about  12  loads  in  all  ;  that  he  hath  taken  the  rotefall  trees  without 
any  marking  with  the  sealing  axe  ;  and  that  he  hath  also  taken 
several  dead  oak  trees  similarly  unmarked. 

"That  the  Keeper  caused  an  oak  to  be  fallen  to  make  '  dogge 
stakes  for  the  Savegarde  of  the  deere,"  which  oak  was  fallen  and 
carried  befor  any  view  consideration  or  allowance  of  us  the  regarders, 
the  stem  of  which  oak  we  have  marked  with  the  sealing  axe. 


"That  none  were  sworn  for  the  falling  of  deer  brouse  last  winter, 
though  the  Keeper  had  promised  that  one  of  his  men  should  come 
before  us  the  regarders  to  be  duly  sworne  ;  and  yet  did  appoint  three 
men  who  never  appeared  before  us  to  '  cutte  deere  brouse  of  the 
bowes  of  okes  in  the  Queenes  Wooddes  in  the  Forest  of  Mylchett 
where  they  dyd  cutte  and  fall  the  bowes  of  okes  of  greter  quantyte 
and  bygger  then  a  bucke  was  able  to  turne  over  with  his  hedde  in 
Wynter  and  that  they  did  cutt  very  lyttle  other  Woodde  of  the 
Queenes  for  deere  browse  but  of  the  bowes  of  okes  whereas  ther  ys 
hasell  bysche,  wethy,  maple,  and  thorne.' 

"  That  in  our  judgement  33  loads  of  brouse  and  fire  wood  were  cut. 

"That  no  cattle  hath  been  put  into  the  Queen's  coppice,  but  n 
swine  the  which  we  impounded. 

"That  we  have  a  book  wherin  we  write  offences  in  the  Queens 
woods  if  any  be  committed." 

James  I.,  by  letters  patent  dated  I3th  December,  1606,  granted 
to  William,  Earl  of  Pembroke,  the  whole  of  the  offices  of 
keeper,  warden,  lieutenant,  and  bailiff  of  the  forest  and  park 
of  Clarendon,  with  all  its  members,  together  with  the  appoint- 
ment of  all  foresters,  rangers,  launders,  palers,  and  stewards 
of  courts  of  swainmote.  By  this  comprehensive  patent  the 
earl  obtained  the  most  absolute  control  that  probably  any  one 
subject  ever  possessed  over  a  royal  forest.  As  chief  ranger  of 
Clarendon  Park,  he  was  entitled  to  the  whole  of  the  herbage  and 
pannage,  stocking  it  either  with  his  own  cattle  or  letting  the 
agistment  to  others  ;  at  the  felling  of  any  of  the  twenty-one 
coppices  of  this  park  the  ranger  had  two  acres  of  the  best  wood 
for  his  own  use,  which  was  worth,  on  an  average,  £20  per 
annum;  the  farming  of  the  "conie  berryes "  in  the  park 
realised  £200  a  year.  Moreover,  the  patent  gave  the  earl  all 
the  Clarendon  lodges,  with  their  houses,  offices,  and  barns  ; 
there  were  six  of  these,  five  termed  "  Innelodges"  and  one 
an  "Outlodge."  The  chief  lodge,  with  its  fees  and  profits, 
was  worth  £140  a  year.  The  four  keepers  of  the  other  in- 
lodges,  such  keeperships  being  now  vested  in  the  earl,  who 
need  only  put  in  deputies,  had  rights  of  grazing  cows  and 
horses,  which  with  venison  fees,  wages,  firewood,  and  lodgings, 
brought  the  total  annual  amount  of  the  four  to  £358.  The 
keepership  of  the  outlodge  was  worth  £42  iu.  8d.  a  year. 
Then,  also,  as  bow-bearer  the  earl  was  entitled  to  various 


other  fees  and  forest  rights  worth  £49  13^.  4^.  a  year.  And 
the  whole  of  this  was  in  addition  to  the  venison  and  rootfallen, 
windfallen,  and  dead  timber  and  general  lop  and  crop  that  per- 
tained to  the  general  office  of  chief  keeper  or  warden  of  a  royal 
forest.  Trees,  coppice  wood,  and  game  still  technically  belonged 
to  the  king,  but  the  Crown  value  was  much  reduced  by  this  ex- 
ceptionally generous  patent. 

An  elaborate  survey  of  Clarendon  park  was  taken  by  the 
Commonwealth  in  1650,  which  is  cited  in  full  by  Hoare.  The 
impaled  ground  of  this  park  then  included  4,293  acres,  and 
was  said  to  be  worth  £1,806  js.  id.  per  annum.  It  was 
divided  into  five  parts  of  about  equal  value,  the  bounds  of  each 
of  which  are  duly  set  forth.  The  names  of  the  five  divisions 
were  the  Ranger's,  Theobald's,  Fussell's,  Palmer's,  and 
Hunt's.  In  addition  to  these  divisions,  which  were  in  the 
parishes  of  Alderbury,  St.  Martin's,  Salisbury,  and  Laver- 
stock,  there  was  also  a  survey  taken  at  the  same  time  of  the 
Outlodge  district,  on  the  east  side  of  Clarendon  park,  in  the 
parish  of  Pitton;  it  is  described  by  the  commissioners  as  being 
within  "the  disafforested  forest  of  Pannsett,  alias  Panshett," 
and  no  part  of  Clarendon  Park. 

The  deer  of  the  park,  distributed  about  the  five  divisions, 
numbered  500  "or  thereabouts,"  and  were  valued  at  20^. 
apiece.  The  timber  trees,  in  addition  to  saplings,  numbered 
14,919 ;  they  appear  to  have  been  all  oaks.  Many  had  been 
recently  cut  down  and  marked  for  the  navy.  The  undergrowth 
was  chiefly  maple  and  thorn. 

After  the  Restoration,  in  1665,  Charles  II.  granted  Claren- 
don park  to  George  Monk,  Duke  of  Albemarle. 


The  forest  district  nearest  to  the  centre  of  the  county 
was  that  of  Melksham,  which  was  about  equally  distant 
from  Chippenham,  Devizes,  Calne,  Trowbridge,  and  Coss- 
ham.  During  the  later  part  of  its  history  it  was  frequently 
termed  the  forest  of  Melksham  and  Pewsham,  Pewsham  being 
an  extra-parochial  district  south  of  Chippenham,  which  is  now 
included  in  the  new  parish  of  Derry  Hill.  But  the  more  usual 
title  in  the  reign  of  Henry  III.  was  the  forest  of  Melksham 
and  Chippenham,  Chippenham  occasionally  coming  first. 


In  1217,  John  Marshall,  the  keeper  of  the  Melksham  and 
Chippenham  forest,  was  superseded  by  Richard  de  Samford, 
but  the  former  was  appointed  constable  of  Devizes  Castle,  and 
the  profits  assigned  for  the  upkeep  of  the  castle.  In  1219 
Philip  de  Albiny  was  appointed  by  the  Crown  forest  keeper 
and  also  constable  of  the  castle.  At  the  time  of  the  general 
order  as  to  cablish,  after  the  great  storm  of  1222,  the  two 
appointments  were  also  in  the  same  hands.  It  was  but  very 
rarely  that  forest  appointments  were  in  clerical  hands,  but  in 
1225  the  Crown  nominated  the  Bishop  of  Salisbury  to  this 
forest  keepership  at  pleasure. 

The  men  of  Melksham  obtained  certain  pasture  rights  in  the 
forest  in  1229,  when  Richard  de  Gray  was  keeper  and  con- 
stable of  Devizes.  Chippenham  and  Melksham,  though  under 
the  same  rule,  and  probably  united  without  any  break  of  forest 
jurisdiction,  were  evidently  regarded  as  two  great  wards  of  the 
same  forest.  There  were  several  royal  orders  in  Henry  III.'s 
reign  for  so  many  oaks  out  of  Chippenham  and  so  many  out  of 
Melksham,  made  simultaneously,  and  addressed  to  the  keeper 
of  the  two. 

Forest  pleas  for  Melksham  and  Pewsham  were  held  at 
Devizes  on  3ist  August,  1490.  The  officials  present  were  : 
Sir  Richard  Beauchamp,  keeper  of  the  forest ;  Thomas  Long, 
Esq.,  lieutenant;  Walter  Wrothesley,  ranger;  John,  George 
and  Thomas  Barbour,  foresters ;  Thomas  Unwin  and  John 
Blake,  esquires,  verderers  ;  thirteen  regarders,  five  of  whom  are 
styled  esquires  ;  five  woodwards,  and  the  reeves  and  four-men 
of  each  of  the  five  townships  of  Chippenham,  Studley,  Stanley, 
Melksham,  and  Stroud.  A  place  is  left  in  the  schedule  for 
agisters,  but  the  return  is  nulli.  There  were  also  present  a  grand 
jury  of  seventeen,  headed  by  William  Bouchier,  sen.,  Esq., 
and  twenty-five  jurymen  from  each  of  the  hundreds  of  Chip- 
penham and  Melksham.  Of  the  five  woodwards,  one  was 
appointed  by  and  represented  the  interests  of  the  abbot  of 
Stanley,  another  the  abbess  of  Lacock,  and  a  third  Cecilia, 
Duchess  of  York.  It  was  declared  that  the  keeper  was  entitled 
to  an  oak  from  each  baily  ;  the  lieutenant  and  ranger  to  an  oak 
each  ;  the  forester  and  verderers  to  a  roer  each  ;  the  company 
of  regarders  to  a  roer  and  a  buck  between  them  ;  Richard 
Curson,  the  justices'  deputy,  to  six  oaks  and  a  male  deer  called 


a  pricket ;  William  Heyden  and  his  assistants,  for  clerical 
labour  and  attendance  at  the  sessions,  to  four  roers ;  and 
Thomas  Unwin,  as  sheriff  of  Wilts,  a  buck.  The  claims  to 
liberties  of  the  abbot  of  Stanley,  the  prioress  of  Ambresbury,  the 
abbess  of  Lacock,  the  priors  of  Farley  and  Brodenstoke,  the 
Bishop  of  Salisbury,  the  Duchess  of  York,  the  Countess  of 
Warwick,  and  three  others  were  enrolled. 

The  army  of  officials,  however,  reported  omma  bene,  and  as 
the  various  claims  were  all  of  long  standing,  it  may  be  said 
that  the  whole  business  was  nil,  save  that  the  findings  of  the 
swainmote  court  held  on  the  previous  gth  of  June  were  duly 
enrolled,  recording  the  conviction  of  several  transgressors  for 
venison  offences. 

It  was  also  recorded  that  in  the  first  year  of  Henry  VI I. 's 
reign  82  deer  died  of  murrain,  namely,  27  bucks,  35  does,  and 
20  fawns  ;  and  in  the  second  year  the  great  number  of  340, 
namely,  140  male,  200  female  ;  and  in  the  third  year  140,  of 
which  number  50  were  male  and  the  rest  female.  There 
seem  to  have  been  no  red  deer  in  this  forest  at  that  date. 

Most  of  this  forest  was  disafforested  in  the  days  of  James  I., 
but  the  Crown  at  that  time  retained  the  liberty  of  Bowood, 
adjacent  to  Calne,  which  was  part  of  Pewsham  forest.  This 
was  one  of  the  best  timbered  districts  of  the  forest,  and  in 
1649  the  Commonwealth  caused  a  great  number  of  the  finest 
trees  to  be  felled  to  pay  the  expenses  of  the  army,  under  the 
authority  of  an  Act  of  the  Parliament.  Fortunately,  however, 
under  the  administration  nf  the  famous  John  Pym,  who  was 
for  many  years  a  representative  of  the  borough  of  Calne,  the 
destruction  was  stayed.  In  1653,  Bowood,  "late  parcel  of  the 
possessions  of  Charles  Stewart  late  King  of  England,"  was 
surveyed,  when  it  was  found  to  consist  of  958  acres,  bearing 
10,921  trees.  At  the  Restoration,  Bowood  reverted  to  the 
Crown,  but  Charles  II.  sold  it  to  Sir  Orlando  Bridgman,  and 
thus  the  last  remnant  of  this  once  great  forest  jurisdiction 
came  to  an  end. 

Bowood,  which  is  now  the  seat  and  property  of  the  Marquis 
of  Lansdowne,  still  preserves  large  tracts  of  wood  and  finely 
timbered  lands  outside  the  immediate  park.  The  park  of  254 
acres  has  a  herd  of  200  fallow  deer,  and  has  many  well-grown 
trees — beech,  oak,  elm,  and  chestnut.  To  the  immediate  south 


of  Bowood  is  Captain  Spicer's  fine  park  of  500  acres,  with  a 
herd  of  300  fallow  deer.  It  consists  of  beautiful  rough,  broken 
ground,  and  is  also  within  the  old  forest  area,  and  but  little 
changed  in  appearance  from  its  condition  in  medieval  days. 


In  the  extreme  north  of  the  county,  a  little  to  the  south  of 
Cricklade,  stretched  the  considerable  forest  of  Braden,  which 
was  anciently  of  great  extent  and  abounding  in  both  red  and 
fallow  deer.  It  was  entirely  separate  from  the  other  Wilts 
forests,  and  is  named  second  in  the  list  when  orders  relative  to 
the  cablish  of  all  English  tree-bearing  forests  were  sent  to  the 
foresters  and  verderers  in  1222.  Its  keeper  at  that  date  was 
Hugh  de  Samford.  Warner  de  Samford  had  been  the  keeper 
in  the  previous  year.  In  1231,  when  Henry  III.  was  at  Marl- 
borough  early  in  March,  Hugh,  the  keeper,  was  ordered  to 
supply  Isabel,  the  king's  sister,  with  two  hinds  against  Easter, 
as  the  lady  was  tarrying  at  Marlborough.  In  the  same  year 
Thomas  de  Samford,  one  of  the  royal  chaplains,  was  made 
warden  of  Cricklade  hospital,  and  the  king  bestowed  on  him 
and  his  successors  full  way-leave  without  any  interference 
from  foresters  or  verderers  throughout  the  whole  forest  for 
horses  and  carts  to  obtain  fuel  whenever  needed  for  the 
brethren  and  poor  of  the  hospital.  In  August  of  the  same 
year  Henry  III.  sent  his  huntsman,  John  the  Fool,  with  his 
companions,  to  hunt  Braden  forest  with  dogs,  and  to  take 
thence  for  the  royal  use  ten  harts  and  fifteen  bucks. 

There  are  various  rolls  extant  of  swainmote  courts  held  in 
this  forest  in  the  reign  of  James  I.  The  records  of  the  swain- 
mote  held  on  6th  July,  1609,  before  Edmund  Lough,  esquire, 
verderer,  and  Richard  Digge,  esquire,  steward,  mentions 
Thomas  Howard,  Earl  of  Suffolk,  as  keeper,  and  Henry 
Baynton,  esquire,  as  ranger.  There  were  present  4  foresters, 
ii  regarders,  41  agisters,  14  woodwards,  2  herdsmen  of  Ashton, 
and  many  jurymen.  The  foresters  presented  the  taking  of 
16  bucks,  12  does,  i  soare,  and  i  tegge,  all  by  due  licence. 
Among  the  regarders'  presentments  were  the  cutting  down  of 
a  green  oak,  value  4^.,  by  an  unknown  person.  It  was  stated 
that  thirty  load  of  deer-browse  ought  to  be  cut  yearly  for  relief 


of  the  king's  game  in  winter,  but  "many  yeres  heretofore  no 
deer  Browse  hath  been  allowed  or  cattle  for  releafe  of  the 
deare,  whereby  they  have  been  forced  in  dead  tyme  of  winter 
to  forsake  the  Foreste,  and  to  seeke  their  releife  in  the  Bor- 
derers house  groundes  to  the  dammage  and  spoyle  of  his 
Mat?68  game." 

Braden  was  disafforested  in  the  time  of  Charles  II. 


The  important  Wiltshire  forest  of  Severnake  lay  to  the  south 
of  Marl  borough,  and  was  divided  into  two  bailiwicks,  the  one 
in  the  hundred  of  Selkley,  and  the  other  in  the  hundred  of 

The  references  to  this  forest  in  the  rolls  of  Henry  III.  and 
subsequent  reigns,  concerning  royal  gifts  therefrom  of  deer, 
roe  deer,  and  timber,  as  well  as  appointments  of  keepers, 
foresters,  verderers,  etc.,  are  of  very  frequent  occurrence. 
Much,  too,  can  be  gleaned  from  the  forest  pleas  and  other  forest 
rolls.  The  following  instances  are  reproduced  as  examples  of 
twenty-nine  presentments  of  venison  trespasses  before  the  forest 
justices,  temp  Henry  VII.,  chiefly  against  the  Wroughton  and 
Darrell  families.  The  pleas  were  held  at  Amesbury  on  25th 
August,  1490 : — 

' '  William  Tailor  vnderkeper  of  the  verme  bayle  presentith  that 
John  Wroughton  esquier  Thomas  Wroughton  John  Perot  William 
Belson  David  Welshman  John  Barowe  John  Longden  with  other  the 
Thursday  next  after  the  feast  of  the  Trinite  the  first  yere  of  our 
sovraigne  Lord  Kyng  Henry  the  VIIth  hunted  Cobham  Fryth  Holt 
Lese  and  the  Lityll  ffrithe  and  there  kylled  a  Sower  with  bowys  and 

"Thomas  Kyng  vnderforster  of  Iwode  presentith  that  Sir  Edward 
Darell  Knyght  John  Baynton  gent  John  Cradeley  David  Walsman 
John  a  Wood  and  John  Langden  with  other  of  his  servantes  the 
morowe  after  the  feast  of  Seint  John  Baptiste  the  vth  yere  of  our 
seid  sovraign  Lord  out  of  Monttisfonte  Copys  a  Doo  and  a  fawne 
kylled  in  the  cheif  of  the  fense  monyth  and  their  houndes  thorough 
ranne  the  forest  to  the  great  distrucion  of  the  Kynge  peace." 

An  interesting  portion  of  the  old  forest  of  Savernake,  about 
4,000  acres,  containing  much  fine  old  timber,  has  been  pre- 


served,  as  it  forms  the  noble  park  round  Tottenham  House, 
the  seat  of  the  Marquis  of  Ailesbury.  Outside  the  actual 
deer  park,  on  the  east,  is  a  considerable  extent  of  heavily 
timbered  open  ground. 


Chute  forest  lay  to  the  south-west  of  that  of  Savernake,  and 
extended  some  distance  into  Hampshire,  though  always  con- 
sidered to  be  in  the  main  a  Wiltshire  forest.  In  early  days  it 
seemed  to  have  joined  Savernake  forest,  and  was  at  times 
under  the  same  chief  keepership.  The  entries  as  to  royal  gifts 
from  this  forest  by  Henry  III.  are  numerous.  Red  deer  (both 
harts  and  hinds)  were  presented  to  royal  favourites,  and  also 
dispatched  hence  for  the  king's  table  ;  oaks  were  bestowed, 
inter  alia,  on  the  abbess  of  St.  Mary's,  Winchester,  and  on 
the  prioress  of  Amesbury  for  building  purposes,  and  on  the 
Countess  of  Pembroke  for  repairing  the  mills  at  Newbury. 

The  original  records  relative  to  this  forest,  temp.  Edward  IV. 
and  Henry  VII.,  are  numerous.  The  presentments  at  the 
swainmote  courts  of  1485-6  include  one  for  creating  "a 
pyggyshouse "  by  the  boundary  oak  within  the  forest.  The 
forester  of  the  west  baily  reported  the  death,  through  murrain, 
during  that  year,  of  two  bucks,  four  does,  and  a  sorrel,  whilst 
the  forester  of  the  east  baily  returned  the  death,  through 
a  like  cause,  of  three  bucks,  one  sore,  eight  does,  and  three 
fawns.  Sir  Nicholas  Lysle  was  the  warden  or  keeper,  and 
under  him  were  three  foresters  for  the  respective  wards  of  the 
west  baily,  the  east  baily,  and  Hippingscomb,  as  well  as  one 
riding  or  itinerant  forester.  The  ministers  also  included  two 
verderers  and  two  agisters. 

These  forest  pleas  for  Chute  were  heard  at  Andover  by 
Justices  Ratcliff  and  Gray,  on  4th  September,  1490.  Sir 
Nicholas  Lysle,  "warden  by  olde  inheritaunce  of  ye  Forest  of 
Chutte,"  petitioned  the  king,  complaining  of  interruption  of 
his  privileges  by  the  forest  justices.  Among  his  vert  claims 
were  an  acre  with  its  bear  of  the  coppice  wood  set  to  sale, 
and  all  wood  felled  and  not  carried  away  before  the  fence 
month,  which  had  hitherto  been  always  allowed  to  him  and  his 
ancestors  for  the  guarding  and  safe  keeping  of  the  forest ; 


he  asked  for  privy  seal  confirming  his  claims  to  be  directed  to 
the  justices  itinerant. 

The  verderers  and  regarders  presented  at  this  eyre  that 
Nicholas,  the  warden,  had  killed,  since  the  last  iter,  twenty 
deer,  male  and  female  ;  also  that  William  Colwych,  one  of  the 
foresters,  had  taken  within  his  baily  two  stalls  of  bees  with 
their  wax,  of  the  value  of  5^. 

Various  forest  offences  alleged  against  the  warden  at  this 
eyre  were  held  by  the  justices  to  be  proved,  and  he  was  re- 
moved from  his  office.  In  1497  various  trespasses  and  hurts  to 
the  forest  done  by  Sir  Nicholas  were  presented  before  Roger 
Cheyne  (late  lieutenant  of  the  forest)  who  had  succeeded  him 
as  warden,  and  the  verderers,  when  he  was  charged  with  killing 
the  deer  at  Christmas. 

"  Item  the  said  Sir  Nicholas,  abbot  of  Misrule,  came  into  the  said 
forest  on  New  Yeres  Eve  and  there  made  chase  and  rechase  and 
kylled  ij  dere,  and  also  servauntes  of  the  said  Sir  Nicholas  Lyles 
commyth  dayly  into  the  forest  and  makyth  chase  and  rechase  that  the 
dere  may  not  lye  in  rest." 

In  a  further  statement  to  the  king,  Sir  Nicholas  claimed  that 
his  ancestors  had  for  a  long  time  held  the  wardenship  of 
Chute  forest  on  payment  of  a  rent  of  icw.,  and  finding  seven 
foresters  at  his  own  cost  to  walk  and  keep  the  forest ;  that 
all  the  time  there  had  been  a  forest  lodge  for  the  petitioner  to 
rest  and  live  in  for  sure  keeping  until  lately,  when  Sir  William 
Sandes  entered  upon  it,  and  he  prayed  to  be  restored  to  it  or 
have  a  new  one  built ;  and  that  the  charges  against  him  had 
been  made  by  malicious  and  evil-disposed  persons. 

The  king's  lodge  here  referred  to  was  at  "Fyckele"  or 
"  Fynkeley "  within  the  forest.  It  underwent  considerable 
repair  at  the  beginning  of  this  reign.  For  the  new  roofing 
7,000  shingles  were  provided  at  a  cost  of  20^.,  and  500  shingle 
nails  at  8d. 

On  payment  of  certain  fines,  Sir  Nicholas  Lysle  was  at 
length,  in  1501,  granted  a  royal  pardon  and  restored  to  his 


The  Wiltshire  forest  of  Groveley  was  half  in  the  hundred 
of  Cadworth  and  half  in  the  hundred  of  Branch  and  Dole. 


It  was  divided  into  north  and  south  bailiwicks  under  a 
single  keeper.  Documentary  evidence  from  the  beginning 
of  Henry  III.'s  reign  is  abundant  with  regard  to  this  forest. 
The  perambulation  temp.  Edward  I.  and  certain  later  par- 
ticulars are  set  forth  in  Hoare's  Wilts  (iv.  183-190). 


The  ancient  forest  of  Selwood  covered  the  south-western 
confines  of  Wiltshire  at  the  extremity  of  the  hundred  of  West- 
bury,  together  with  a  large  portion  of  East  Somersetshire,  and 
extended  itself  southward  from  Frome  just  across  the  borders 
into  Dorsetshire.  Collinson  (Somerset,  ii.  195-6)  gives  a  list 
of  keepers  of  this  forest  from  John  to  Henry  VI.  Special 
privileges  in  this  forest  were  granted  to  the  house  of  leprous 
women  of  Maiden  Bradley  in  the  thirteenth  century.  The 
material  for  its  history,  as  yet  unwritten,  is  abundant.  It  was 
disafforested  in  the  time  of  Charles  I. 



THE  county  of  Dorset  had  three  royal  forests  at  the  time 
of  the  granting  of  the  Forest  Charter  of  Henry  III. — 
Gillingham,  Blackmore,  and  Poorstock. 

Gillingham  was  the  most  important  of  the  three,  in  the 
extreme  north  of  the  county  ;  it  was  originally  one  of  the 
divisions  of  the  great  Somersetshire  forest  of  Selwood.  Leland 
gives  its  dimensions,  in  the  time  of  Henry  VIII.,  as  four  miles 
long  by  one  broad.  Material  for  the  history  of  this  and  the 
other  forests  of  the  county  is  abundant.  In  the  third  edition 
of  Hutchins'  History  of  Dorset,  the  boundaries  of  several 
perambulations  of  Gillingham  forest,  from  Henry  III.  to 
Elizabeth,  are  set  forth,  as  well  as  abstracts  of  the  proceedings 
relative  to  its  disafforestation  (ii.  620-4,  649).  It  was  dis- 
afforested and  the  deer  removed  in  1625. 

The  wood  sale  accounts  of  Richard  Cressebien  and  Mathew 
Vynyng  of  the  forest  of  Gillingham  for  1402-3  are  extant, 
still  enclosed  in  the  leather  pouch  in  which  they  were  for- 
warded to  London.  Mention  is  made  in  these  accounts  of  the 
sale  of  many  Brothers,"  varying  in  price  from  8s.  to  i6d.; 
this  term  was  a  variant  for  roers  or  robora.  Many  details  are 
given  of  the  expenses  occurred  in  repairing  lodges. 

Pleas  of  the  forest  of  Gillingham  were  held  at  Shaftesbury 
on  2nd  September,  1490,  before  Sir  Reginald  Gray,  Edward 
Chaderton,  clerk,  and  Richard  Empson,  as  justices  of  the  forest 
of  Elizabeth,  Queen  of  England,  on  both  sides  the  Trent. 
Those  appearing  were  Sir  John  Luttrell,  sheriff  of  the 
county ;  William  Twynyho,  esquire,  lieutenant  of  the  forest ; 
William  Goodwyn,  ranger ;  Gilbert  Thomson,  forester-of-fee  ; 



two  other  foresters,  the  launder,  the  servant  of  the  lieutenant, 
the  bailiff  and  his  fellows  of  the  hundred  of  Redlane,  and 
also  of  the  manor  of  Gillingham,  the  two  verderers,  eight 
regarders,  and  the  reeves  and  "  four-men  "  of  each  of  the  town- 
ships of  Gillingham,  Motcombe,  and  Brayton. 

The  business  transacted  chiefly  consisted  in  assigning  the 
perquisites  of  oaks,  roers,  and  bucks  to  the  officials,  and  the 
registering  of  liberty  claims  within  the  forest.  The  jury  of 
the  hundred  of  Redlane  presented  a  list  of  various  persons 
who  had  felled  oaks,  but  in  almost  each  instance  they  knew  not 
the  number  nor  the  warrant. 

One  of  the  questions  discussed  at  these  pleas  was  the  right 
to  a  deer-leap,  which  formed  part  of  the  fence  of  a  small  park 
three  miles  distant  from  the  bounds  of  Gillingham  Forest. 
The  nature  of  the  saltatorium,  or  deer-leap,  has  been  explained 
in  the  sixth  chapter.  In  this  case  the  justices  ordered  its 
removal,  as  a  jury,  after  an  inquest,  decided  that  it  had  been 
erected  since  the  last  eyre,  and  without  any  licence. 


A  large  tract  of  the  north  and  western  parts  of  the  county, 
comprising  several  hundreds,  known  as  the  vale  or  forest  of 
Blackmore,  was  all  forest  in  early  Norman  days  ;  but  much  of 
it  passed  from  under  the  forest  laws  in  the  time  of  Henry  II., 
and  still  more  through  the  Forest  Charter  of  Henry  III. 
Nevertheless,  a  considerable  district  remained  forest,  and  was 
known  as  Blackmore  forest  until  a  much  later  period.  The 
Close  Rolls,  etc.,  of  Henry  III.  show  that  the  king  made 
many  gifts  of  red,  fallow,  and  roe  deer  out  of  this  forest,  as 
well  as  timber.  In  1230  an  oak  was  granted  for  the  repair  of 
the  bridge  of  Corfe  Castle.  In  the  same  year  the  forest  bailiff 
was  instructed  to  supply  the  distant  Bishop  of  Durham  with 
•seven  does  against  Christmas  ;  and  in  the  following  year  to 
furnish  the  Bishop  of  Exeter  with  ten  does  towards  stocking  a 
park.  Camden  says  that  it  used  to  be  known  as  the  White 
Hart  Forest,  and  gives  the  following  story  to  account  for  the 
name.  Henry  III.,  when  hunting  here,  ran  down  several 
deer,  and  rinding  a  beautiful  white  hart  amongst  them,  caused 
its  life  to  be  spared.  Shortly  afterwards  a  neighbouring  gentle- 


man,  one  Thomas  de  la  Linde,  with  his  companions,  hunte< 
this  hart  and  killed  it  at  a  bridge,  thence  called  Kingstag 
bridge,  in  the  parish  of  Pulham.  The  king,  in  his  wrath,  not 
only  punished  the  offenders  by  imprisonment  and  fine,  but 
severely  taxed  all  their  lands,  "the  owners  of  which  yearly, 
ever  since  to  this  day,  pay  a  sum  of  money,  by  way  of  fine  01 
amercement,  into  the  Exchequer,  called  White  Hart  Silver,  ii 
memory  of  which  this  county  needeth  no  better  remembrance 
than  this  annual  payment."  Leland  says:  "This  forest 
streatchid  from  Ivelle  unto  the  quarters  of  Shaftesbyri,  and 
touchid  with  Gillingham  Forest  that  is  nere  Shaftesbyri."  The 
ancient  bounds  and  a  few  other  particulars  are  set  forth  in  the 
third  edition  of  Hutchins'  Dorset  (iv.  516-19). 


In  the  parish  of  Poorstock  (between  Beminster  and  Brid- 
port)  and  the  adjacent  country  was  the  old  royal  forest  of  Poor- 
stock.  John  de  la  Lynde  held  the  bailiwick  of  this  forest  in 
the  time  of  Henry  III.  It  was  of  comparatively  small  extent ; 
the  perambulation  of  1300  shows  that  it  had  one  forester-of-fee, 
Walter  de  la  Lynde,  and  one  verderer,  Robert  de  Byngham. 
This  perambulation  is  set  forth  in  Hutchins'  Dorset  (ii.  317). 


THE  county  of  Somerset  was  possessed  of  five  consider- 
able forests,  namely,  Mendip,  Selwood,  North  Petherton, 
Neroche,  and  Exmoor,  the  last  of  which  stretched  a  little 
distance  into  the  county  of  Devon.  Though  these  forests  lay 
wide  apart  from  one  another,  more  than  fifty  miles  as  the  crow 
flies  separating  Exmoor  in  the  north-west  of  the  county  from 
Mendip  in  the  north-east,  the  whole  of  the  Somersetshire 
forests  were  under  the  general  control  of  one  chief  warden  or 
keeper.  William  du  Plessis  was  hereditary  keeper  or  master 
forester  of  the  five  Somerset  forests  in  the  middle  of  the 
thirteenth  century,  and  Sabine  Pecche,  his  descendant,  in 

The  forest  pleas  that  were  held  for  this  county  in  1257  show 
a  remarkable  exception  as  to  the  beasts  of  the  forest  in  the  case 
of  the  warren  of  Somerton.  Within  the  bounds  of  this 
warren  the  king  preserved  the  hare  as  a  beast  of  the  forest. 
At  that  eyre  Philip  the  Knight  and  Robert  Sinclair,  the  two 
verderers,  presented,  before  William  le  Breton  and  his  fellow- 
justices,  that,  on  yth  December,  1255,  Richard  le  Rus  and  his 
fellows,  whose  names  were  unknown,  took  four  hares  in 
Somerton  warren.  The  verderers  further  presented  that  in 
Christmas  week,  1256,  a  certain  hare  was  found  dead.  An 
inquisition  was  therefore  made  by  the  four  townships  of  Somer- 
•  ton,  Kingston,  Pitney,  and  Wearne,  who  returned  that  the 
hare  died  of  murrain.  There  is  no  like  record  affecting  the 
hare  in  any  other  known  forest  proceedings  throughout  the  king- 
dom, and  it  was  probably  peculiar  to  this  comparatively  small 
warren.  To  compel  the  four  adjacent  townships  to  hold  an 
inquest  on  every  hare  found  dead  or  wounded — in  accordance 
with  the  laws  pertaining  to  beasts  of  the  forest — throughout 



the  length  and  breadth  of  the  vast  area  under  forest  law  in  the 
thirteenth  century  would  have  been  impossible  to  Execute  and 
absurd  to  attempt. 

Another  interesting  point  about  the  Somerset  eyre  of  1257  is 
the  presentment  of  the  woodwards  of  wood  owners.  It  appears 
that  at  that  period  the  presentment  of  such  officials  before  the 
justices  was  obligatory.  Thus  John  Syward,  the  woodward  of 
the  Bishop  of  Bath  and  Wells  for  the  wood  of  Cheddar,  had 
been  presented  by  the  bishop's  steward  to  William  de  Plessis, 


the  hereditary  keeper,  but  not  before  the  forest  justice  ;  where- 
upon the  bishop  was  declared  in  mercy  and  the  wood  taken 
into  the  king's  hands.  Before,  however,  the  eyre  closed,  the 
bishop's  steward  appeared,  made  fine  for  the  wood,  and  pre- 
sented Syward  to  the  justices,  who  took  the  necessary  oaths. 
Thereupon  the  wood  was  restored  to  the  bishop.  Like  proce- 
dure was  taken  with  regard  to  another  of  the  bishop's  wood- 
wards, as  well  as  a  woodward  of  the  abbot  of  St.  Augustine's, 
Bristol.  At  the  same  pleas,  the  abbess  of  Shaftesbury  and  two 
laymen  duly  presented  their  respective  woodwards. 

Pleas  of  the  forest  were  again  held  for  Somerset  in  May, 


1270,  when  the  verderers  of  Somerton  warren  again  presented, 
before  the  justices  at  Ilchester,  several  delinquents  for  hare 

More  careful  attention  is  given  to  forest  history  in  Collinson's 
History  of  Somerset  (three  vols.,  1791)  than  in  any  of  our  other 
old  county  histories.  He  cites  in  full  from  the  Wells  registers 
the  perambulations  undertaken  of  all  the  forests  of  the  county 
in  1289,  in  order  to  reduce  them  to  their  ancient  and  lawful 
bounds,  in  pursuance  of  the  ratification  of  the  forest  charter 
granted  that  year.  With  respect  to  the  forest  of  Roche  or 
Neroche,  the  commissioners  reported  in  favour  of  the  disaf- 
foresting of  various  villages,  lands,  and  woods,  which  had 
been  afforested  by  King  John  to  the  great  detriment  of  the 
tenants.  Almost  equally  great  reductions  of  hunting-ground, 
which  had  been  illegally  made  forest  by  Henry  II.,  Richard  I., 
and  John  in  the  other  Somerset  forests,  were  at  the  same  time 
condemned  and  declared  disafforested. 

The  master  forestership  or  general  keepership  of  all  the 
county  forests  passed  from  the  Peche  family,  in  the  reign  of 
Edward  III.,  to  Roger  Mortimer,  Earl  of  March,  in  whose 
descendants,  earls  of  March,  and  in  their  heirs  the  dukes 
of  York,  it  continued  until  the  time  of  Edward  VI.,  when  it 
became  united  to  the  Crown.  Collinson  sets  forth  the  period 
of  the  respective  disafforesting  of  North  Petherton,  Mendip, 
Neroche,  and  Selwood  ;  but  space  prevents  us  giving  particular 
attention  to  any  Somersetshire  forest  save  that  of  Exmoor,  to 
which  a  few  pages  ought  to  be  devoted. 

The  printed  information  about  Exmoor  Forest  is  exceptionally 
full.  In  addition  to  that  which  can  be  gleaned  from  Collinson's 
county  history,  and  from  Savage's  History  of  Carhampton 
Hundred  (1830),  Mr.  Rawle,  in  his  Annals  of  the  Ancient 
Royal  Forest  of  Exmoor  (1893),  has  published  most  of  the  infor- 
mation that  can  be  gained  from  the  original  forest  documents  at 
•  the  Public  Record  Office,  or  from  MSS.  at  the  British  Museum. 

Exmoor,  exclusive  of  the  part  pertaining  to  Devonshire,  was 
the  largest  and  by  far  the  wildest  of  the  Somersetshire  forests. 
This  great  expanse  of  hilly,  open  country,  constituting  for 
the  most  part  a  bleak  tableland  of  moor,  surrounded  by  a  fringe 
of  well-wooded  combes,  was  bounded  on  the  north  by  the 
Bristol  Channel,  extended  some  twelve  or  thirteen  miles 


inland,  and  was  about  twenty-five  miles  in  length  from  east  to 
west.  That  Exmoor  was  a  hunting-ground  before  the  Con- 
quest is  made  manifest  by  the  fact  that  Withypool,  according 
to  the  Domesday  Survey,  was  held  by  three  foresters  in  the 
days  of  Edward  the  Confessor.  Whatever  may  have  been  the 
area  of  Exmoor  forest  in  the  time  of  the  Conqueror — Mr. 
Rawle  believes  it  to  have  been  above  60,000  acres — it  was  con- 
siderably increased  by  the  encroachments  of  later  Norman 
kings,  particularly  of  John. 

A  perambulation  of  1279,  at  the  Public  Record  Office,  gives 
a  circuit  of  about  fifty  miles,  and  included  within  the  forest 
area  almost  the  whole  of  the  parish  of  Oare,  portions  of 
Culbone,  Dulverton,  Exford,  Porlock,  and  Winsford,  and  the 
whole  of  Hawkridge  and  Withypool,  together  with  the  modern 
parish  of  Exmoor.  The  perambulation  stated  that  King  John 
had  added  to  the  original  forest  a  considerable  number  of 
adjacent  parishes  and  manors,  to  an  aggregate  of  about  20,000 
additional  acres,  which  included  East  and  West  Luccombe, 
Doverhay,  Stoke  Pero,  Woodcockleigh,  Bossington,  Holni- 
cote,  Withycombe,  etc.  As  a  consequence  of  the  1298  peram- 
bulation for  the  whole  county  of  Somerset,  all  the  additions 
made  by  John  to  the  forest  of  Exmoor  were  disafforested,  and 
the  ancient  bounds  as  then  laid  down  remained  unaltered  for 
several  centuries. 

The  justices  in  eyre  appointed  to  hear  the  Somerset  forest 
pleas  are  known  to  have  held  their  courts  at  Ilchester,  Lang- 
port,  Somerton,  Taunton,  and  Wells.  Taunton,  the  nearest  of 
these  court  towns,  was  over  thirty  miles  distant  from  the  nearest 
part  of  Exmoor,  whilst  the  other  towns  were  all  upwards  of 
fifty — a  distance  that  could  not  fail  to  considerably  impede  the 
course  of  justice  and  increase  its  expense.  At  the  eyre  held  at 
Ilchester  in  1257  by  William  le  Briton  and  his  colleagues, 
twenty-six  vert  trespassers  were  presented  from  Exmoor ;  the 
highest  fine  was  5^.,  which  was  inflicted  on  a  clerk,  William 
de  Bagel ;  in  another  case  the  fine  was  2s. ;  the  remainder  were 
mulcted  in  izd.  The  few  cases  of  venison  trespass  show  that 
there  were  both  red  deer  and  roebucks  on  Exmoor ;  but  there 
is  no  mention  of  fallow  deer  in  this  or  subsequent  pleas  and 
inquisitions.  At  this  eyre  there  were  various  presentments  for 
encroachments  and  for  sowing  land  with  wheat,  rye,  or  oats 


(not  "beans,"  as  Mr.  Rawle  has  it).  Several  offenders  were 
also  fined  half  a  mark  for  waste  of  wood. 

At  the  eyre  held  at  Ilchester  in  1270,  there  were  upwards  of 
fifty  vert  trespassers  presented.  In  a  few  cases  the  fine  was  2s. , 
but  in  general  it  was  i2d.  ;  the  justices  imposed  no  fine  in  five 
instances  in  consequence  of  the  poverty  of  the  offender.  The 
venison  trespassers  presented  by  the  foresters  and  by  Philip 
de  Luccombe  and  Richard  de  Bradley,  the  verderers,  were  not 
numerous,  considering  that  thirteen  years  had  elapsed  since  the 
last  eyre.  Simon,  the  miller  of  Dulverton,  Ralph  Bulbe,  and 
John  de  Reygny  caught  a  stag  on  St.  George's  Day,  1259, 
and  carried  it  to  the  house  of  William  de  Reygny.  Simon 
made  no  appearance,  and  a  writ  was  addressed  to  the  sheriff  of 
Devon.  Ralph  could  not  be  found,  and  a  writ  of  exigent  was 
issued.  John  and  William  de  Reygny  were  committed  to 
prison,  but  released  on  the  payment  of  ten  marks  and  finding 
pledges  for  their  future  behaviour.  In  another  case,  Thomas 
le  Shetten  and  William  Wyne  were  charged  with  entering  the 
forest  on  Easter  Eve,  1267,  with  bows  and  arrows,  with  the 
intent  of  wrong-doing  to  the  king's  venison.  They  hunted  a 
hind,  and  chased  her  into  the  wood  of  Longcombe,  without 
the  forest  bounds,  and  there  caught  her,  and  carried  her  away 
to  their  houses  at  Molland.  The  same  two  men  were  charged 
with  often  entering  the  forest  with  evil  intent,  when  they  were 
harboured  in  the  house  of  John,  then  chaplain  of  Hawkridge. 
The  chaplain  came  to  the  eyre  and  was  put  in  prison,  but  the 
other  two  made  no  appearance,  and  a  writ  for  their  arrest  was 
directed  to  the  sheriff  of  Devon.  Before  the  court  was  dissolved, 
John  the  chaplain  was  pardoned  for  the  sake  of  the  king's  soul 
(pro  anima  Regis}. 

At  an  inquisition  held  at  Langport  before  a  deputy  justice  of 
the  forest,  in  1333,  in  addition  to  two  cases  of  venison  trespass, 
Richard  le  Webbe  and  two  others  of  Moulton  were  convicted 
of  burning  the  heath  of  1,000  acres  on  the  hills  of  the  forest, 
to  the  damage  of  the  king  and  to  the  injury  of  his  deer.  At 
the  same  time,  William  Cobbel,  rector  of  Oare,  was  convicted 
of  felling  saplings  in  the  wood  of  Oare,  and  carrying  them  off 
for  his  own  purpose. 

Various  other  inquisitions  as  to  the  state  of  Exmoor,  held 
before  forest  justices  or  their  deputies  at  Somerton,  Taunton, 


and  Wells  during  the  latter  part  of  the  reign  of  Edward  III., 
are  set  forth  in  detail  by  Mr.  Rawle. 

Mr.  Rawle  has,  however,  overlooked  several  entries  on  the 
Patent  and  Close  Rolls  pertaining  to  Exmoor,  several  of  which 
have  been  already  cited  in  earlier  chapters. 

In  1324,  John  Everard,  the  escheator  of  the  four  western 
counties,  was  ordered  to  deliver  to  Eleanor,  widow  of  Ralph  de 
Gorges,  and  mother  of  Ralph  his  heir,  aged  15,  two  parts  of 
a  third  of  the  manor  of  Brampton,  co.  Devon,  as  the  king 
learnt  by  inquisition  that  Ralph  held  at  his  death  a  third  of 
that  manor  of  the  king  in  chief,  by  service  of  finding  the  king 
an  arrow  when  the  king  came  or  sent  to  Exmoor  to  take  venison 
there,  the  arrow  to  be  delivered  to  the  king's  huntsman. 

In  November,  1377,  Richard  II.  granted  Baldwin  Badyngton, 
king's  esquire,  and  Matilda  his  wife,  to  enclose  at  pleasure, 
notwithstanding  the  assize  of  the  forest,  all  their  demesne 
lands  in  Somerset  within  the  metes  of  the  forests  of  Exmoor 
and  Petherton,  which  had  been  wasted  and  destroyed  year  by 
year  by  the  deer,  so  as  to  prevent  the  deer  from  entering,  and 
thus  to  hold  these  premises  for  their  lives. 

Peter  de  Courtenay  obtained  in  1382,  during  the  minority 
of  the  heir,  the  custody  of  the  forest  of  Exmoor,  which  was  in 
the  king's  hands  since  the  death  of  Edmund,  Earl  of  March. 

Edward  IV.,  in  1462,  granted  for  life  to  William  Bourgchier, 
of  Fitzwaren,  knight,  the  master  forestership  of  Exmoor,  re- 
ceiving the  usual  fees  in  the  same  manner  as  Thomas  Courtenay, 
late  Earl  of  Devon.  Six  years  later  the  king  granted  the  same 
office  for  life  to  Humphrey  Stafford,  knight,  on  the  death  of 
William  Bourgchier.  In  1470,  John  Dynham  obtained  from 
the  Crown  the  grant  for  life  of  the  custody  of  the  king's 
forests  of  Exmoor  and  Neroche,  with  the  herbage  and  pan- 
nage and  the  courts  of  swainmote,  rendering  yearly  to  the 
king  forty  marks. 

Henry  VII.,  when  he  came  to  the  throne  in  1485,  seems  to 
have  put  the  control  of  the  venison  of  Exmoor  into  the  hands 
of  his  chamberlain,  Lord  Daubeny. 

On  the  marriage  of  Henry  VIII.  with  Catherine  of  Aragon, 
Exmoor  was  settled  on  the  queen  as  part  of  her  jointure.  In 
1520  Sir  Thomas  Boleyn  covenanted  with  the  Earl  of  Devon- 
shire to  give  up  certain  forests,  offices,  etc.,  which  he  held  of 


Queen  Catherine  at  a  yearly  rent  of  £46  13$.  4^.,  saving  and 
reserving  100  deer  to  remain  in  the  forest  of  Exmoor.  The 
forest  was  afterwards  held  by  Henry's  third  wife,  Jane  Sey- 

In  1598  Hugh  Pollard  was  ranger  of  the  forest,  and  kept  a 
pack  of  hounds  at  Simonsbath.  James  I.  granted  Exmoor 
forest  to  his  queen,  Anne  of  Denmark.  Charles  I.,  on 
coming  to  the  throne,  granted  a  lease  for  22^  years  to  the 
Earl  of  Pembroke  of  "the  Forest  and  Chace  of  Exmore  in 
the  counties  of  Devon  and  Somerset,  and  of  the  manor  of 
Exmore  for  fourteen  years  .  .  .  with  a  further  clause  of  liberty  to 
him  to  build  a  lodge  in  the  forest  at  his  chardges,  and  to 
enclose  and  lay  one  hundred  acres  of  land  thereunto." 

In  1630  the  king  was  petitioned  to  disafforest  Exmoor  in 
favour  of  an  influential  applicant.  The  petition  was  granted, 
but  further  action  was  not  taken.  In  the  royal  library  at 
Windsor  is  a  warrant,  dated  5th  August,  1637,  under  the  sign 
manual  of  Charles  I.,  directing  the  ranger  of  Exmoor  to  deliver 
to  Mr.  Wyndham  "one  fatt  stagg  "  ;  a  facsimile  of  this  docu- 
ment forms  the  frontispiece  to  Mr.  Rawle's  volume. 

Within  a  few  months  of  his  accession,  Charles  II.  granted  a 
lease  of  Exmoor  for  39  years  to  James  Butler,  Marquis  of 

In  1784  a  lease  of  the  forest  and  chase  of  Exmoor,  with  the 
courts  and  royalties,  was  granted  to  Sir  Thomas  Dyke  Ac- 
land,  Bart.  This  was  the  last  lease  granted  by  the  Crown. 

In  1815  an  Act  of  Parliament  was  passed  for  the  disafforest- 
ing and  enclosing  of  Exmoor.  The  extent  of  the  forest  was 
then  found  to  be  only  18,810  acres,  which  were  thus  allotted  :  A 
little  more  than  one-half  to  the  king  ;  one-eighth  to  Sir  T.  D. 
Acland  in  lieu  of  the  tithes  of  the  whole  forest,  which  he  held  ; 
and  the  remainder  to  "owners  of  certain  estates,  to  which  free 
suits  were  attached,  and  to  several  other  persons  in  respect  of 
•  old  enclosed  tenements  lying  in  various  parishes  bordering  on 
the  forest."  The  king's  portion  was  at  once  offered  for  sale, 
and  his  10,000  acres  were  purchased  by  Mr.  John  Knight  for 

Thus  ended  the  royal  rights  over  the  ancient  forest  of 
Exmoor,  which  had  their  origin  in  days  prior  to  the  Norman 


WHILST  far  too  little  has  hitherto  been  printed  about 
many  of  England's  forests,  the  reverse  is  true  with 
regard  to  Dartmoor.  The  mere  list  of  books  and 
publications  relating  to  Dartmoor,  its  history,  scenery,  an- 
tiquities, and  convicts,  covers  twelve  pages  of  the  last  edition 
of  Rowe's  Perambulation.  Much  of  this  is,  however,  of  an 
ephemeral  character,  and  the  only  two  books  that  give  serious 
information  as  to  the  history  of  the  forest  or  chase  are 
J.  S.  W.  Page's  Exploration  of  Dartmoor  (1889),  and  the  one 
just  named.  The  Perambulation  of  Dartmoor,  by  Samuel  Rowe, 
vicar  of  Crediton,  a  good  antiquary  of  his  day,  was  first 
published  in  1848;  it  was  reprinted  in  1856,  and  in  1896 
brought  out  again  in  a  much  extended  and  corrected  form  by 
J.  Brooking  Rowe,  F.S.A.  This  last  admirable  volume  gives 
in  extenso  a  variety  of  historical  documents  from  a  charter 
of  John  in  1199  down  to  an  interesting  presentment  of  the 
jurors  of  a  court  of  survey  in  1786.  Nevertheless,  a  con- 
tinuous history  of  this  forest  or  chase  yet  remains  to  be 

In  the  following  brief  remarks  a  mere  bare  outline  of  the 
general  run  of  such  a  history  is  all  that  is  attempted  ;  whilst 
the  additional  documentary  evidence  cited  has,  to  the  best 
of  our  belief,  never  before  been  printed. 

The  whole  forest  of  Dartmoor  lies  within  the  old  parish 
of  Lydford,  by  far  the  largest  parish  in  all  England.  The  wild 
table-land  of  the  forest  in  the  centre  of  the  shire,  with  its 
adjacent  common  lands,  hardly  distinguishable  from  the  forest 
proper,  covers  some  100,000  acres,  whilst  the  actual  forest  has, 


THE    FOREST   OF    DARTMOOR          341 

in  round  numbers,  an  acreage  of  60,000.  The  district  is  about 
twenty-eight  miles  long  from  north  to  south,  and  about  twenty- 
six  miles  wide  from  east  to  west.  The  nature  of  this  granite 
table-land  makes  it  certain  that  Dartmoor  was  never  covered 
to  any  considerable  extent  with  timber,  although  there  was 
doubtless  more  underwood  in  places,  diversified  by  occasional 
growth  of  oak,  alder,  and  willow  in  the  more  sheltered 

By  a  charter  of  John,  i8th  May,  1204,  all  lands  in  Devon- 
shire, save  the  forests  of  Dartmoor  and  Exmoor,  were  dis- 
afforested, thus  anticipating  the  great  charter  of  1215,  so  far  as 
this  county  was  concerned. 

In  1222  Henry  III.  directed  the  bailiffs  of  the  once  im- 
portant borough  of  Lydford  to  permit  the  tinners  of  Devon 
to  take  peat  from  his  moor  of  Dartmoor  for  the  use  of  the 

Henry  III.,  in  1228,  granted  to  Adam  Esturney  certain  lands, 
which  Roger  Mirabel  had  held  of  the  king  in  chief,  in 
Skerradon  and  Shapelegh,  by  the  service  of  two  barbed 
arrows  when  the  king  came  to  hunt  in  his  chase  of  Dartmoor. 
The  manor  of  Woodbury  was  held  in  chief  of  the  king  by 
the  service  of  three  barbed  arrows  and  an  oat  cake  of  the  price 
of  half  a  farthing,  when  the  king  should  come  to  Dartmoor  for 
hunting  in  his  chase.  The  ancient  tenure  of  the  manor  of 
Druscombe  also  shows  that  royal  hunting  over  this  waste, 
then  so  well  stocked  with  deer,  was  anticipated,  for  the  lord 
had  to  present  a  bow  and  three  arrows  to  the  king  when 
hunting  on  the  moor. 

In  1236,  the  king  granted  the  tithe  of  the  herbage  or 
agistment  of  Dartmoor  to  the  chaplain  serving  the  church 
of  St.  Petrock  at  Lydford. 

In  1240,  the  sheriff  was  directed  to  summon  a  jury  to  deter- 
mine, by  perambulation,  the  bounds  of  Dartmoor  Forest. 
Of  this  perambulation  there  are  several  early  copies.  An 
ancient  quaint  map  of  the  forest,  of  which  a  photograph  is 
given  by  Mr.  Brooking  Rowe,  is  extant  that  has  generally 
been  supposed  to  be  coeval  with  this  perambulation,  but  it 
is  probably  two  centuries  later  in  date. 

An  entry  on  the  Close  Rolls,  dated  23rd  January,  1251,  shows 
that  the  very  rare  privilege  of  having  a  justice  in  eyre  for 


forest  pleas,  for  a  forest  that  was  not  strictly  royal,  was 
granted  to  Richard  Earl  of  Cornwall,  to  whom  the  castle, 
manor,  borough  of  Lydford  and  the  forest  of  Dartmoor  had 
been  granted. 

Geoffrey  of  Langley,  justice  of  the  forest,  was  at  that 
date  ordered  by  the  king,  as  a  concession  to  the  Earl  of 
Cornwall,  when  he  had  finished  the  eyre  then  being  held  in 
the  county  of  Nottingham,  to  proceed  to  Dartmoor  for  a  like 

Mr.  Brooking  Rowe  prints  a  rendering  of  the  ministers' 
accounts  of  Edmund  Earl  of  Cornwall  relative  to  Dartmoor 
for  the  years  1296-7.  The  items  are  arranged  under  the  heads 
of  the  borough  and  manor  Lydford,  including  the  fee-farm 
rent,  and  profits  arising  from  water-mill,  fairs,  toll-tin,  and 
stray  cattle  ;  and  the  forest,  including  profits  from  water-mill, 
from  township  fines  for  pasturing  cattle,  from  peat-diggers, 
from  the  agistment  of  2,442  cattle  at  \\d.  a  head,  from  487 
horses  at  2d.  each  horse,  and  from  pannage,  etc.  There  were 
various  court  fines  chiefly  for  straying  cattle,  but  two  for  tres- 
pass during  the  fence  month  show  that  some  care  was  taken  of 
the  red  deer.  Under  the  head  of  allowances,  6os.  is  entered  as 
paid  to  the  parson  of  Lydford,  and  42$.  for  the  stipends  and 
drink  money  (poutura)  of  the  foresters,  with  22^.  for  their  ex- 
penses in  the  fence  month,  and  stipends  and  drink  money 
for  twelve  herdsmen  from  3rd  May  to  i5th  August,  j6s.  6d. 
There  was  a  clear  balance  on  the  whole  account  for  the  Earl  of 
Cornwall  of  ^44  2s. 

That  the  deer  were  well  warded,  in  addition  to  the  cattle,  is 
shown  by  the  supplies  of  salted  venison  that  were  sent  to 
Edward  I.  and  Edward  II.  from  this  forest. 

From  the  reign  of  Edward  III.  to  that  of  James  I.  there  are 
various  ministers'  accounts  and  court  rolls  among  the  duchy 
muniments  at  the  Public  Record  Office.  The  forest  was 
divided  into  four  quarters  or  wards,  known  from  the  points  of 
the  compass  as  East,  West,  North,  and  South,  and  the 
accounts  of  each  were  kept  separately.  The  accounts  of  Robert 
de  Cleford,  the  keeper  and  receiver  of  the  moneys  for  turves, 
agistments,  etc.,  for  the  years  1354-5,  show  the  following  par- 
ticulars for  the  first  three  wards,  that  for  the  South  being 
mutilated  : — 

THE    FOREST   OF    DARTMOOR         343 

East. — 2,641  cattle  and  198  horses  agisted,  and  five  peat- 
cutters  licensed — producing  £34  js.  $d. 

West. — 1,408  cattle  and  thirty-seven  horses  agisted,  and 
twenty-two  folds  and  twelve  peat-cutters  licensed — producing 
£10  2s.  g^d. 

North. — 298  cattle,  163  horses,  fourteen  folds,  and  thirty-one 
peat-cutters — producing  .£5  is.  6\d. 

The  charge  right  through  these  accounts  for  a  long  period 
was  i\d.  a  head  for  cattle  and  2d.  a  head  for  horses,  2d.  for 
each  fold,  and  $d.  from  each  peat-digger.  Those  who  dug 
peat  for  fuel  are  termed  carbonarii,  which  has  been  absurdly 
translated  colliers,  and  mention  of  early  coal-getting  on  Dart- 
moor has  been  more  than  once  printed.  But  the  geological 
formation  makes  such  an  idea  impossible. 

Ralph  Houle  was  the  receiver  in  1370-1,  and  his  accounts  for 
two  wards  yield  the  following  particulars. 

East  Ward. — 2,762  cattle  agisted  within  the  forest,  and  1,762 
without  the  forest ;  five  horses  agisted  within  the  forest,  and 
twenty-nine  without.  This  agistment,  in  addition  to  the  pay- 
ments of  thirteen  peat -cutters,  $8s.  lod.  in  rents,  gave  a 
total  of  £29  15^-.  nd. 

West  Ward. — 952  cattle  and  twelve  horses  agisted,  whilst 
thirty-eight  men  paid  for  folds  and  thirteen  to  cut  peat.  This, 
with  us.  nd.  rents,  made  a  total  of  £g  gs.  io\d.  Among  the 
outgoings  were  the  6os.  of  tithe,  which  appears  in  every 
account,  6s.  8d.  to  the  clerk  who  drew  up  the  returns,  and  the 
stipends  of  two  foresters. 

The  court  rolls  of  1381-2  have  the  heading^  venatione  infra 
forestam  several  times,  but  no  entry  follows. 

The  accounts  for  1387-8  give  John  Copleston  as  the 
king's  steward  in  Devonshire.  John  Prik  was  the  forester- 
bailiff  of  the  West  forest ;  the  money  wages  for  two  foresters 
was  only  1 3*?.  ^d. ,  but  they  each  received  an  additional  6d.  a  week 
during  the  four  weeks  of  the  deer-calving  time,  or  fence 
month.  For  the  North  forest,  Robert  Colleshull  was  forester- 
bailiff,  and  Ralph  Brante  for  the  East  forest ;  in  both  cases  the 
wages  were  the  same  as  in  the  West  ward.  Much  of  this  roll 
is  illegible. 

The  ministers'  accounts  for  1403-4  give  Henry  Burgeye  as 
receiver,  and  he  accounts  for  the  borough  of  Lydford.  William 


Wykes  was  forester  for  North  Dartmoor  ;  1,307  cattle,  ninety- 
one  horses,  forty-two  peat-cutters,  and  twenty-four  folds.  Aver 
Wonstan  was  forester  for  East  Dartmoor;  1,693  cattle,  133 
horses,  twenty-one  peat-cutters,  and  twelve  folds.  William 
Ysabel  was  forester  for  South  Dartmoor;  1,600  cattle,  forty- 
nine  horses,  sixteen  peat-cutters,  and  twelve  folds.  William 
Kelly  was  forester  for  West  Dartmoor;  1,780  cattle,  ninety- 
seven  horses,  sixteen  peat-cutters,  and  twelve  folds. 

A  bundle  of  court  rolls  of  the  beginning  of  Henry  V.'s  reign, 
1399-1405,  contain  many  interesting  forest  details.  At  a 
court  for  East  Dartmoor  held  a  Lydford  on  St.  Luke's  Day, 
there  were  various  fines  for  unwarranted  agistment,  and  one 
charge  of  hunting  with  greyhounds  at  Myrepitte  on  Christmas 
Day.  Though  not  so  styled,  there  were  evidently  the  regular 
swainmote  courts  held  in  forests  every  forty  days,  for  courts 
were  also  held,  for  the  year  1399-1400,  in  February,  on  the 
Feast  of  St.  David,  at  Easter,  Sts.  Philip  and  James,  Whitsun- 
tide, St.  John  Baptist,  St.  Mark,  and  the  Assumption — nine 
in  all. 

There  were  also  eight  courts  held  for  West  Dartmoor,  on 
days  quite  apart  from  those  for  the  east  ward,  including  St. 
Clement's,  Christmas,  St.  Valentine's,  and  St.  Gregory's  Days. 
There  is  a  full  list  for  1399-1400  of  those  who  turned  their 
cattle  (averia)  out  in  East  Dartmoor.  The  contrast  is  con- 
siderable between  the  rich  John  Abraham — (was  he  of  Jewish 
descent?) — who  turned  out  300  head,  and  Walter  atte  Heade 
who  had  only  a  single  beast.  The  total  of  the  cattle  is  1,970, 
and  the  agistment  money  came  to  £>ig  6s.  ^d. 

The  ministers'  accounts  for  1403-4  show  a  still  large  number 
of  agisted  cattle  on  East  Dartmoor,  namely,  3,159,  in  addition 
to  twenty-nine  horses;  the  peat-cutters  numbered  thirty.  Richard 
Wyte  was  the  bailiff-forester.  The  wages  for  two  foresters  stand 
as  in  earlier  accounts,  and  there  is  also  los.  paid  for  a  warden  of 
the  cattle  collected  at  the  pound  of  Dunbryge,  and  for  a  clerk 
writing  out  the  list  and  aiding  in  impounding  them.  In 
Rowe's  Perambulation  there  are  several  references  to 
Dunbridge,  or  Dunnabridge,  pound,  usually  called  the  duchy 
pound,  of  a  much  later  date.  The  sum  of  3^.  4^.  was  paid 
this  year  for  parchment  on  which  to  write  the  East  Dartmoor 
agistment  lists.  The  bailiff-forester  for  West  Dartmoor  for 

THE    FOREST   OF    DARTMOOR          345 

that  year  was  Alfred  Wonstan ;  he  returned  1,430  cattle, 
thirty-two  horses,  and  twenty-one  peat-cutters,  but  no  fold 
money  (faldagium) ;  for  this  ward  there  were  also  two  paid 
foresters  with  an  assistant  herdsman  for  the  Dunbridge  pound. 
South  Dartmoor  (John  Grendon)  had  2,012  cattle,  thirty-six 
horses,  and  seventeen  peat-cutters  ;  whilst  North  Dartmoor 
(John  Wyke)  had  1,401  cattle,  eighty-nine  horses,  and  thirty- 
three  peat-cutters.  These  two  wards  also  each  paid  for  two 
foresters  and  an  assistant  for  the  Dunbridge  pound.  This 
great  pound,  between  Two  Bridges  and  Dartmeet,  is  a  large 
enclosure  measuring  350  feet  from  east  to  west,  and  330  feet 
from  north  to  south.  Rowe  describes  the  wall  as  nearly 
6  feet  high  where  perfect. 

The  ministers'  accounts  for  1451-2  yield  the  following 
agistment  returns  :— 

East  West  South  North 

Cattle         .         .      1,208  ...   1,248  ...   1,696  ...   1,045 
Horses      .         .          42  ...        21   ...        40  ...        26 

This  shows  a  considerable  falling  off  from  the  returns  of  half  a 
century  earlier  date. 

The  agistment  entries  more  than  a  century  later,  in  the 
court  rolls  for  the  forest  of  1571-2,  give  the  numbers  of  the 
cattle  on  North  Dartmoor  as  1,224;  they  belonged  to  fifty-four 
owners:  Thomas  Whyte  owned  208,  Thomas  Ware  150,  and 
Stephen  Knight  forty-eight,  whilst  some  only  owned  one  beast. 
Under  Nomina  delinquent*  infra  foresf  are  the  names  of 
Stephen  Knight  and  thirty  others  who  were  each  fined  3^.  for 
agistment  offences.  There  were  only  thirteen  horses.  Agistment 
of  sheep  (bidentes)  now  appear  on  the  rolls  ;  of  these  there 
were  twenty-one  owners,  and  their  flocks  on  the  moor  varied 
from  300  to  10 ;  the  total  number  of  the  sheep  was  830,  and 
their  agistment  fees  amounted  to  25^.  nd.  The  cattle  on  South 
Dartmoor  numbered  1,043,  and  the  horses  nine  ;  whilst  twelve 
persons  turned  out  346  sheep  for  los.  *j\d.  On  West 
Dartmoor  the  cattle  numbered  1,619,  and  the  horses  twenty, 
but  there  were  no  sheep.  On  East  Dartmoor  there  were  2,079 
cattle,  twenty  horses,  and  100  sheep.  Five  persons  each  turned 
out  a  score,  and  paid  the  aggregate  sum  of  y.  \\d.,  so  the 
charge  for  sheep  was  *]\d.  the  score.  In  each  ward  there 


were  a  number  of  delinquents  who  paid  3^.  fines.  The  total 
of  the  peat-cutters,  who  still  paid  $d.  each,  on  the  whole  moor 
was  thirty-five. 

The  court  rolls  for  some  twenty  years  later,  namely,  for 
1595-6,  show  that  the  sheep  were  increasing.  There  were  843 
in  the  north  quarter,  1 10  in  the  east,  and  246  in  the  west ;  the 
return  for  the  south  quarter  is  missing. 

In  the  reign  of  James  the  sheep  on  the  whole  materially 
increased,  at  the  expense  of  the  cattle.  The  proportions  for 
the  north  quarter  in  1609-10  were  746  cattle,  thirteen  horses, 
and  1,560  sheep  ;  but  they  fluctuated  much,  for  in  1617-19  the 
cattle  of  the  same  quarter  numbered  640,  the  horses  seven,  and 
the  sheep  600. 

The  introduction  of  sheep  on  Dartmoor  probably  showed  a 
diminution  in  the  deer,  or,  at  all  events,  less  attention  to  their 
interests  ;  for  although  red  deer,  where  they  roam  widely,  are 
not  nearly  so  much  affected  by  sheep  pasturage  as  fallow  deer, 
still  it  was  always  the  principle  to  restrict  sheep  very  narrowly 
in  royal  forests  even  when  tenanted  by  the  larger  deer. 

Towards  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century  the  red  deer  had 
become  so  plentiful  on  Dartmoor  that  the  farmers  bitterly  com- 
plained, and  at  last  they  were  exterminated  by  the  staghounds 
of  the  Duke  of  Bedford,  sent  down  from  Woburn  for  that  pur- 
pose. It  has  been  said  that  "Tavistock  was  so  glutted  with 
venison  that  only  the  haunches  of  the  animals  killed  were 
saved,  the  rest  being  given  to  the  hounds,"  but  this  is  obvi- 
ously a  somewhat  ridiculous  exaggeration.  Of  late  years  red 
deer  occasionally  find  their  way  to  Dartmoor,  straying  thither 
from  Exmoor,  although  its  nearest  point  is  over  forty  miles 

The  return  of  the  jurors  of  the  court  of  survey  of  the  manor 
of  Lydford  and  the  forest  of  Dartmoor  on  i3th  October,  1786, 
as  parcel  of  the  possessions  of  the  Duchy  of  Cornwall,  is  cited 
in  full  by  Mr.  Rowe.  It  supplies  interesting  particulars  as  to 
the  then  obligation  of  the  tenants  to  assist  the  foresters  of  the 
east,  south,  and  west  quarters  to  make  a  winter  drift  for  the 
colts  at  their  own  charge,  and  to  drive  them  to  Dunnabridge 
pound  and  keep  them  there  for  two  days  and  three  nights,  and 
thence  to  the  Prince's  pound  at  Lydford,  all  at  their  own 
charge  save  the  taking  from  the  forester  one  halfpenny  white 

THE    FOREST   OF    DARTMOOR          347 

loaf  of  bread  apiece  ;  also  to  help  in  the  three  summer  drifts  of 
cattle  between  Midsummer  and  Lammas  after  like  fashion, 
under  pain  of  6s.  8d. 

A  further  presentation  by  the  jurors  was  with  regard  to 
divers  towns  or  villages  abutting  on  the  forest  and  within  the 
purlieu,  whose  cattle  did  daily  escape  into  the  forest.  Such 
offenders  were  subject  to  fine,  which  fine  was  turned  into  a 
rent  called  Fines  Villarum,  hence  those  who  dwell  in  these 
townships  and  pay  these  rents  are  called  Venvillemen.  They 
further  presented  that  Venvillemen,  in  return  for  the  rent, 
may  keep  as  many  cattle  as  they  can  winter  on  their  tenements 
in  the  forest,  and  may  cut  turf  for  their  own  use. 

The  Venville  parishes  number  twenty-one.  When  the  drifts 
were  made,  Venvillemen  could  recover  their  cattle  or  colts 
without  paying  any  fine  or  charge,  but  the  other  remained 
pounded  till  the  due  fee  had  been  discharged.  The  drift  was 
summoned  by  the  sound  of  a  horn. 

Every  parish  of  the  county  has  a  right  to  send  cattle  to  this 
moor  save  Barnstaple  and  Totnes. 

The  duchy  now  lets  the  four  quarters  of  Dartmoor  to  the 
moormen,  who  in  return  charge  a  small  fee  for  every  sheep, 
bullock,  or  horse  turned  out  not  belonging  to  a  Venvilleman, 
and  this  fee  includes,  as  it  did  of  old,  a  pledge  of  protection. 

None  of  our  English  forests  have  so  many  of  their  original 
boundary  or  ancient  guide  stones  remaining  as  that  of  Dart- 
moor, and  the  reason  is  sufficiently  obvious,  namely,  the 
imperishable  character  of  the  granite  that  abounds  throughout 
the  district.  Such  stones  almost  naturally  assumed  the  shape 
of  a  cross  in  the  days  of  the  simple  vivid  faith  of  our  forefathers. 
The  old  grey  cross  standing  up  on  the  bare  moor  would  not 
only  tell  the  moormen  or  the  Venvillemen  of  the  bounds  of 
their  respective  rights,  or  point  out  the  path  to  be  taken  by 
the  wayfarer,  but  would  serve  to  keep  in  remembrance  the 
Saviour  of  mankind.  In  one  of  the  earliest  printed  English 
books,  by  Wynken  de  Word,  in  the  fifteenth  century,  occur 
these  words  : — 

"  For  this  reason  ben  Crosses  by  ye  waye,  that  whan  folke 
passynge  see  the  Crosses,  they  sholde  thynke  on  Hym  that  dyed  on 
the  Corss,  and  worshyppe  Hym  above  all  thynge." 


Notwithstanding  the  mischief  that  has  been  done  to  these 
Dartmoor  forest  crosses,  by  wanton  ignorance  or  Puritan 
malevolence,  upwards  of  thirty  still  remain.  They  are  ad- 
mirably described  and  illustrated  by  Mr.  William  Crossing, 
in  his  Ancient  Crosses  of  Dartmoor  (1887). 


Abbenhalle,  277,  278 

,,  Ralph,  71,  277,  278 

Abraham,  John,  344 
Acclam  family,  113 
Account  of  English  Deer  Parks,  85 
Ackworth  park,  76,  80 
Acland,  Bart.,  Sir  Thomas  Dyke,  339 
Acle,  Reginald  de,  245,  288 

,,      Roger,  247 
Acornbury  forest,  7 
Acres,  Jean  d',  227 
Acton  Burn  ell,  225 
Acton  Henry  de,  135 
Adam,  huntsman,  49 

,,       the  fowler  of  Ayton,  39 
Adderley,  Nicholas,  191 
"Afforestation,"  5 
Agard,  John,  172,  194 

,,        Ralph,  172 

,,        William,  142,  176,  197 
Agardsley,  138,  142 
Agisters,  10,  14,  23-4,  41 
Agricultural  Reports  of  Leicestershire  of 

Alant,  50 

Albemarle,    George    Monk,    Duke    of, 


Albiny,  Philip  de,  323 
Alconbury,  269 
Aldborough,  Richard  de,  213 
Aldburgh,  125 
Alder,  73,  74 
Alderbury,  314,  322 

Alderwasley,  73,  186,  191,   192,  195,  202 
Alexander,  King  of  Scotland,  91 
Alice  Holt  forest,  78,  85,  309-10 
Alisson,  Henry,  189 
Allantofts,  116 
Allen,  Thurston,  168 
Allerdale,  92 
Allerston,  45 
Allerton,  213,  216 
Alne,  the,  87,  90,  92,  129 
Alnwick  Castle,  90 

„         forest,  7,  77,  88,  89,  90 

Alsop,  John,  194 

Alston,  91 

Alton,  245 

Alvandeley,  Richard  de,  102 

Alvechurch,  147 

Alverston  forest,  7 

Ambassadors,  77,  78 

Ambros,  Richard,  317 

Amesbury,  313,  314,  324,  326,  327 

Amice,  Widow,  148 

Amond,  Robert,  140 

Amounderness  forest,  44,  45,  80,  98,  102, 


Ampthill,  78,  79 

Ancient  Crosses  of  Dartmoor,  348 
Andover,  327 
Andredes-weald,  301 
Andville,  John  de,  156 
Anecdotes  of  Cranborne  Chase,  82 
Ankirk,  288 
Annals  of  the  Ancient  Royal  Forests  of 

Exmoor,  335 
Anne  of  Denmark,  339 
Anne,  Queen,  219 
Annesley,  215 
Apethorpe,  253 
Aquitium,  160 
Arabilis,  72 

Aragon,  Catherine  of,  338,  339 
Archer,  Richard,  228 

„        Thomas  le,  161 
Arden  forest,  229 
,,      Simon,  197 
Arley,  148 
Armiger,  192 
Arnold  forest,  213,  219 
Arrow,  the,  229 
Arsic,  Robert,  258 
Art  de  Venerie,  L' ,  61 
Arundel  forest,  302 

,,        Edmund,  Earl  of,  318 

,,        Thomas,  318 
Ash,  68,  73,  74,  263,  293 
Ashborne,  John  de,  54 
Ashbourne,  Robert  de,  154 




Ashdale,  94,  95 
Ashdown,  37,  301,  302 
Ashfield,  132,  219 
Ashley  hay,  186,  202 
Ashop,  170,  173,  177 
Ashover,  167 
Ashpotts,  74 
Ashton,  325 
Ashwood,  148 
Aspen,  68 
Assarts,  u,  12 
Assheton,  William,  193 
Assize  of  Woodstock,  u,  68 
Aston,  150,  159,  240 

,,        Hugh  de,  228 
Astune,  Walter  de,  227 
Atherton  de  Ayntre,  Henry  de,  102 
Atkyn's  Ancient  and  Present  State  of 

Gloucestershire,  274 
Attachment  court,  the,  13,  14 
Attewell,  Adam,  34 
Avenel,  William,  205 
Avon,  the,  38,  227 

„      Micah,  95 
Awdley,  Sir  James,  311 
Axe-bearer,  19,  23,  153 
Axieholt,  309 
Ayer,  Robert,  169 
Aylesbury,  Walter  de,  228 
Ayston,  236 
Ayton,  Gilbert,  40,  45 

Babington,  Anthony,  194 

,,  Thomas,  168,  172 

Babthorp,  Master,  1 19 
Bacon,  Richard,  320 

,,       Robert,  244 
Badelesmere,  Gaucelin  de,  131 
Badger,  35,  36-7 
Badyngton,  Baldwin,  338 

,,  Matilda,  338 

Bagel,  William  le,  336 
Baggley,  Ralph,  293 
Bagley,  257 
Bagnall  House,  85 
Bagott,  Stephen,  174,  175 
Bagshawe,  George,  170 

,,  Thomas,  171,  174,  175 

,,  William,  164,  171,  175 

Bagshott,  298 
Bagworth,  54 
Bailiwick,  14,  19 
Bailly,  Robert,  311 
Baines"  Lancashire,  98 
Baker,  172,  237 
Bakewell,  151,  153,  167 
Baldere,  Richard,  191 
Baldlyston,  Simon  de,  103 
Banastre,  Adam,  103 

,,          Thomas,  103 
Bantrum,  William,  292 

Barbery,  Booth,  166 

Barbille,  1 19 

Barbour,  Edward,  170,  171 

,,          George,  323 

,,         John,  323 

,,         Thomas,  323 
Bardley,  226 
Bardolf,  John,  214 
Bardulf,  William,  206 
Barking,  abbess  of,  34 
Barley,  Humphrey,  175 
Barlowe,  George,  171 
Barnack,  239 
Barnsdale,  235 
Barnstaple,  347 
Barre,  Peter  de  la,  209 
Barton,  138,  139,  141,  142 

,,        Robert  de,  93 

,,        William  de,  239 
Barylgate,  118 
Basford,  214,  219 
Basingwerk,  13,  134,  154,  158,  160,  166, 


Baskerville,  Walter,  36 

Baslow,  Richard  de,  164 

Bass,  72 

Basset,  Ralph,  147,  148 
,,       Sir  Robert,  58,  242 

Bassethawe,  58 

Bast,  72,  141 

Bateson,  Miss,  232 

Baveney,  226 

Baynton,  Henry,  325 

Beagle,  50 

Beard,  167 

Beasts  of  the  forests,  25-40 

Beauchamp,  James,  228 
,,  John  de,  259 

,,  Sir  Richard,  323 

,,  Sir  William  de,  306 

Beauchief  Abbey,  13 

Beaufoy,  Ralph  de,  155 

Beauliew,  307 

Beaumont,  234,  235,  237 

Beauties  of  England  and  Wales,  221 

Bebington,  131 

Beckford,  64 

Beech,  68,  73,  311 

Beeching,  302 

Bees  and  honey,  39-40 

Bek,  Anthony,  88,  115,  126,  147,  148,  208 
,,     Thomas,  208 
„     Walter,  208 

Beler,  Roger,  189 

Belper,  8,  33,  43,  54,  183,  184,  185,  186, 
188,  189,  191,  192,  193,  198,  199,  200, 
202,  203 

Belton,  236 

Belvoir,  168 

Benefield,  241,  242,  243,  244 
,,          Laund,  255 


Benselin,  Henry,  239 
Bentinck,  William,  95 
Bentley,  229 
Bercelet,  48,  52,  53 
Bere  forest,  85,  309,  310-12 
Beresford  Dale,  32 
Berewyk,  Adam  de,  101 

,,          Thomas  de,  101 
Bergh,  Alexander  de,  in 

,,       Bernard  de,  in 
Berkeley,  Maurice,  236 
Berkshire  forest,  266-7 
Bermondsey,  69 
Bernake,  Gervase  de,  33,  160 
Bernarius,  53 
Berner,  the,  53 
Bernes,  Dame  Julyana,  63 
Bernwood  forest,  35,  257,  258,  260,  261, 

262,  267,  268 
Berse,  277 
Bertram,  Roger,  88 
Berwick,  109 
Bestwood,  76,  206,  207,  213,  215,  216, 


Bethune,  Thomas  de,  99 

Bevercote,  William  de,  212 

Bewdley,  225,  226 

Bewell,  Thomas,  171 

Bicester,  257 

Bicknoure,  277 

Bidentes,  345 

Bigg,  Walter,  165 

Biggin,  191,  198 

Bigland's  Historical  Collections,  274 

Bigod,  Hugh,  240 

Bigot,  Robert,  115 

,,      Sir  Ralph,  122 
Bikerstack,  Ralph  de,  104 
Bilhagh,  217,  218,  219,  220,  222 
Billahaugh,  207 
Binsted,  245 
Birch,  68,  73,  74 
Birkhow,  115 
Birkin,  John  de,  205 

,,       Thomas  de,  205 
Birkland,  217,  218,  220,  222 
Birkley,  140,  142 
Birkley  Lodge,  42 
Birton,  Joan  de,  214 

,,       Ralph  de,  214 
Bishop  of  Lichfield's  Chase,  146 
•     Bishops  Waltham,  81 
Blackbrook,  153,  198 
Blackburn,  98 
Blackburnshire  forest,  32,  98,  104,  105, 


Blackmore,  330,  331-2 
,,  vale  of,  86 

Blackthorn,  68,  73,  74 
Blackwater  bridge,  290 
Blackwell,  George,  174 

Blagden,  37 

Blagge,  Mrs.  Mary,  80 

Elaine's  Encyclopedia  of  Rural  Sports, 


Blake,  John,  323 
Blakeney,  277 
Blakey  Moor,  112 
Blandford,  84,  265 
Blandsby,  57,  119,  120,  124 
Blandy  park,  109 
Blane,  Richard,  64 
Bleasdale  forest,  80,  98,  99,  100 
Blestro,  75 
Blettra,  75 
Bleythe,  277 
Blidworth,  204,  217,  222 
Bligh,  205,  206 
Bliorth,  212 
Blisworth,  246 
Bloodhound,  50 
Blount,  Henry,  226,  227 
,,       Walter,  168 
,,       William  le,  102 
Blundel,  William,  99 
Blyth,  207 

Boar,  wild,  25,  26,  30-2,  107-8,  154,  275 
Bode,  Agnes,  209 
„       Robert,  209 
Bois,  Thomas  de,  289 
Boke  of  Saint  Albans,  The,  63 
Bolas,  72 

Boldon  Book,  the,  97 
Boldre,  73 

Boleyn,  Sir  Thomas,  338 
Bolt  by,  213 
Bona  vacantia,  5 
Bononia,  Sir  Francis  de,  35,  260 
Booth,  43,  1 66 
Bordesley,  228 
Boroughbridge,  109 
Bosco,  Ernald  de,  258 
Bossington,  336 
Bot,  John,  213 
"  Bounderers,"  9 
Bourchier,  Sir  Thomas,  292,  295 

,,  William,  323 

Bow-bearer,  20,  94,  106,  177 
Bowden,  152,  159,  170 
Bower  Chalk,  82 
Bowland  forest,  32,  98,  104 
Bowls,  72 

Bowood,  85,  324,  325 
Boynton  family,  113 
Bozon,  Robert,  161 
Brabazon,  Richard,  100 
Brache,  48,  50 
Bradburn,  69 
Bradburne,  Henry  de,  190 

,,  Humphrey,  193,  194 

,,  John,  192 

,,  William,  202 



Bradeford,  Robert  de,  134 
Braden,  325-6 
Bradfield,  Thomas,  191 
Bradley,  192 

,,         Richard  de,  337 
Bradshaw,  69,  200 

Anthony,  200,  201 
Henry,  191 

John,  190,  191,  193,  195 
Robert,  195 
William,  200 
Braithwait,  93 
Brampton,  116,  338 
Bramshill,  81 
Branch,  328 

Brandenburgh,  Duke  of,  79 
Branding  irons,  284 
Brante,  Ralph,  334 
Braose  family,  302 

,,       William,  302 
Braundeston,  Matilda  de,  246 
Braunston,  234,  235,  236 
Bray,  295 

,,      Ralph  de,  101 

,,       Sir  Reynold,  169 
Braydon,  60,  81 
Bray ton,  331 
Breadsall,  213 
Bren,  Llewellyn,  279 
Bret,  John  le,  213,  215 

,,     Thomas,  35 

Breton,  William  le,  244,  260,  269,  333 
Breward,  146 

Brewere,  William  de,  31,  258 
Brewood,  147,  148,  223 
Bridevvode,  279 
Bridford,  292 
Bridge  Casterton,  234 
Bridge,  Mr.,  237 
Bridgman,  Sir  Orlando,  324 
Bridgnorth,  146,  148,  223,  224,  225 
Bridlington,  116,  117 
Brien,  Guy  de,  279 
Brigstock,    35,   58,    240,    241,    242,    243, 

248,  250,  252,  253,  255,  256 
Brill  forest,  267 
Bristol,  280 
Bristwick  park,  76 
Britford,  313 
Briton,  Ralph,  267 
Brockshaw,  John,  200 
Brodeles,  59 
Brodenstoke,  324 
Broksylver,  167 
Bromall,  John,  170 
Bromley,  104 

,,         Thomas  de,  146 
Brook,  235,  236 
Brotherton,  126 
Broughton,  44,  45,  102,  103 
Brown,  Thomas,  172 

Bruce,  Robert,  109 

Bruern,  258,  261 

Bruges,  148 

Bruys,  Matilda  de,  36 

Brymore,  John  de,  306 

Brymyngeshoe,  118 

Buck,  the,  25 

Buckholt,  313,  315,  316,  317 

Buckhounds,  49 

Buckinghamshire  forest,  267-8 

Buckstalls,  56-7 

Buddlesgate,  311 

Budley,  207 

Budworth,  133 

Bugg,  Ralph,  160 

Bulax,  245 

Bulbe,  Ralph,  337 

Bulkeley,  Roger,  318 

Bullsmore,  184,  188,  189 

Bulmer,  128 

Bulners,  Peter,  187 

Bulwick,  253 

Burford,  258 

Burgeye,  Henry,  343 

Burgs,  Henry  de,  206 

Burleigh,  Lord,  298 

Burnell,  Hugh,  225 

,,          Robert,  225 
Burton,  96,  140 

,,        Mr.,  231 
Burton-on-Trent,  140 
Burtonwood  forest,  99 
Bushie  Park,  78 
Butter,  Henry,  200,  201 

,,       James,    Marquis    of    Ormonde, 


Butterly,  194 
Buxted,  301 
Buxton,  159 

Mr.  E.  N.,  86,  283,  286 
Byfleet,  293 
Bygley,  Ralph,  38 
Bygod,  Roger,  Earl  of  Norfolk,  in 
Byke,  a,  40 

Byngham,  Robert  de,  332 
Byron,  Sir  John,  196,  216 

Cableicium  or  cablicium,  7 
Cadworth,  328 
Caius,  Dr.,  48 
Caldew,  92 
Caldon,  236 
Calne,  322,  324 
Calton  Park,  77 
Calverton,  14,  212,  215 
Cambrencis,  Giraldus,  154 
Camden,  Mr.,  331 
Camerton,  Andrew  de,  306 
Camhead,  163 

Campana,  151,  152,  153,  154,  160,  161, 
165,  168,  170,  173,  183 



Campestres,  63 
Candover,  225 

,,  Philip  de,  52 

Canes  cheverolereq,  49 
Cannock  Chase,  145-8 

,,         forest,  34 
Canonpath,  316 
Cantelupe  manor,  276 
Cantilupe,  Mabel  de,  8 
,,          William,  240 
Canute,  4,  44,  68 
"  Capille,"  171 
Capistra,  59 

Capoun,  Sir  Robert,  109 
Capriolus,  29 
Carbonarii,  343 
Carburton,  207 
Cardell,  69 

Cardticis.  Thomas  de,  208 
Carlisle,  90,  91,  122 

,,         John,  Bishop  of,  215 
Carlton,  220,  242,  248 

,,         William,  127 
Carnabie,  Cuthbert,  89,  90 
Cassy,  Sir  John,  180 
Castiard,  71,  278 
Castle  Donnington,  54 
Castlehay,  138,  139,  141,  142,  144 
Castlehay  park,  80 
Castleman,  Mr.,  84 
Castleton,  150,  151,  152,  156,  165,  167 
Cat,  wild,  33,  36 
Caton,  John  de,  100 
,,       Ralph  de,  40 
Cattle,  42-3,  342-5 
Catulos,  34 

Caux,  Matilda  de,  205 
Cave,  Sir  Ambrose,  174,  196 
Cavendish,  Henry,  Lord,  80,  144 
Cawledge  park,  90 
Cervericii  canes,  49 
Cervus  elaphas,  26 
Chablis,  7 
Chaddesden,  155 
Chaddesley,  149 
Chaderton,  Edward,  330 
Chafin,  Mr.,  82 
Chamber  of  the  Forest,  152,  168,  171 

»          M         Peak,  152 
Champagne,  183,  190 
Champyon,  the,  174 
Chapel,  167 
Chapel-en-le-Frith,    151,    152,    163,    166, 

i 68,  179 

Chappell  Henalt  Walk,  78 
Chapter,  the,  1 1 
Charcoal  burning",  137 
Charlbury,  262 
Charlcote,  Thomas  de,  261 
Charles  I.,  77,  179,  201,  297 

„        II.,  32,  79,  95,  130,  143,  144 

2  A 

Charnwood  forest,  231-2 
Charnivood  Forest,  231 
Charter  of  the  Forest,  the,  3,  6,  8,  9,  12, 
13,  22,  40,  42,  47,  60,  95,  227,  229,  284, 

330,  33i 
Chase,  a,  2 

Chaumpvent,  Peter  de,  92 
Cheddar  forest,  7,  334 
Chelmorton,  153,  167,  178 
Cheminage   and    Fence    Month,  59-61, 

127,  147,  187,  272 

Chertsey,  34,  38,  287,  288,  290,  293 
Cheselden,  John,  236 
Cheshire  forest,  20,  131-6 
Cheshire,  Ormerod's,  131 
Chester,  36,  38,  39,  131,   132,  134,  136, 


Chesterfield,  205 
Chestnut,  sweet,  68,  71,  278 
Chettle  Common,  84 

,,        Lodge,  84 
Cheut  forest,  78 
Cheverellus,  29 
Chevin,  192,  198,  202,  203 

,,        House,  199,  200 
Chevinsyde,  201 
Chevrones,  206 
Cheyne,  Roger,  328 
Child,  Mr.  T.  F.,  204 
Chilterns,  the,  257 
Chilton  Foliat,  266 
Chingford,  283 

„  Walk,  78 

Chinley  Common,  32 
Chippenham,  322,  323 
Chipping,  105 
Chisworth,  179 
Cholmley,  Richard,  119, 120, 122, 123, 124 

,,          Roger,  122 
Christchurch,  38 
Churchill,  149 
Chute  forest,  290,  327-8 
Chyllynton,  146 
Chymynagium,  59 
Clare,  Gilbert  de,  227 
Clare,  Robert,  31 
Claret,  John,  157 
Clarendon  forest,  7,  9,  13,  20,  29,  31,  37, 

38,  39,  41,  43,  49.  52,  56,  57,  71,  73, 

85,  313-22 
Clark,  Richard,  200 
Claughton  forest,  101 
Clay,  219 
Clee  forest,  226 
Cleford,  Robert  de,  342 
Cleley,  237 
Cleobury,  225 
Clerk,  Philip  le,  148 
Clewer,  58 
Cliff  forest,  46,  239,  240,  250,  251,  252, 

255.  256 



Cliff,  William  de,  275 
Clifford  family,  226 

,,        Isabel  de,  92 

,,        Robert  de,  71,  92 

,,        Rog-er  de,  148,  276,  278,  288 
Clifton,  129,  213 

Clipston  forest,  7,  207,  212,  213,  215 
Clitheroe,  98,  104 
Clowe,  Thomas  a,  58 
Clumber,  219,  221 
Clypston  Park,  76 
Clyve,  Thomas  de,  135 
Coan,  Robert,  137 
Cobbel,  William,  337 
Cobham,  287,  288 
Cockayne,  Sir  Thomas,  64 
Cockshut,  a,  39 

,,  farm,  39 

Coit  Andred,  301 
Cokayne,  Sir  Edward,  201 
,,  Sir  John,  166 

,,          Sir  Thomas,  171,  195 
Cokefeld,  John  de,  208 
Cokehill,  147 
Cokendale,  249 
Coket,  Francis,  129 
Coking",  Richard,  139 
Cokker,  101 
Cokkyes,  130 
Colchester,  284 
Cold  Norton,  259 
Cole,  the,  267 
Colebrook,  72,    183,    186,   187,   190,   195, 

197,  201,  203 
Coleshill,  267 
Collam,  John,  271 
Colleshull,  Robert,  343 
Collinson's  History  of  Somerset,  329,  335 
"Collvng,"  50,  163 
Collyweston,  252,  253 
Colne,  104,  105 

Colombieres,  Matthew  de,  245,  288 
Colson,  John,  123  • 

Colt,  a,  33 

Columbarius,  Matthew  de,  52 
Colville,  Robert,  113 
Colwick,  208 

,,         William,  208 
Colvvych,  William,  328 
Colyn,  William,  317 
Common  Law,  the,  2 
Compton,  Thomas  de,  260 
Conet  forest,  99 
Coney,  26,  37 
Conisborough  Park,  76 
Constable,  Robert,  1 19 

,,  Sir  Marmaduke,  119 

Constitutiones  de  Foresta,  4 
Cook,  William,  192 
Cookham,  295 
Cope,  Sir  John,  81 

Copleston,  John,  343 

Coptre,  235 

Copulas,  206 

Coquet,  87,  88,  90 

Corbet,  John,  148 

Corby,  237,  242,  248,  255 

Corfe  Castle,  331 

Corkley,  187,  188 

Cornbury  Park,  85,  261 

Cornet,  Agnes,  243 

Cornhill,  William,  287 

"  Cornilw,"  168 

Cornwall,  Duchy  of,  167,  346 

,,  Edmund,  Earl  of,  291,  342 

,,  Richard,         ,,         243,  342 

Corston,  225 

Cossham,  322 

Corviser,  Ralph  le,  185 

Coterell,  Warner,  158 

Cotterstock,  247 

Cottingham,  248 

Cotton,  235 

,,       Collection,  the,  59 

Coucher  Book,  the,  35,  116 

Court  Thorn,  95 

Courtenay,  Philip  de,  338 
,,          Thomas  de,  338 

Country  Contentments,  64 

Coveham,  288 

Coventry,  156 

Cowhey,  166 

Cowhouse  Lane,  186,  199 

Crab-apple,  73,  143,  197 

Crakehall,  John  of,  269,  270 

Cranborne  Chase,  9,  31,  35,  37,  60,  61, 
79,  81,  82,  84,  297,  299,  300 

Crancumbe,  George  de,  259 

Crawlev,  31 1 

Crayke,  128 

Creditor),  340 

Cressebien,  Richard,  330 

Crepping,  Richard  de,  88,  92,   100,  209, 

277-  330 
Crich,  193 

,,      Chase,  190 
Cricklade,  325 

,,          hospital,  60 
Criel,  Nicholas  de,  243 
Croft,  Roger  de,  101 
Cromwell,  Lord,  129,  130 
,,  Oliver,  142 

,,  Thomas,  296 

Crooke,  Sir  Henry,  263 
,,         Sir  John,  263 
,,         Unton,  263 
Cropton,  1 18 
Cross,  185,  186,  187 
Crossbow,  252-3,  255 
Cross  Cliff,  45,  1 1 8,  122 
Crossing,  Mr.  William,  348 
Crowford  bridge,  293 



Croyland,  249 
Croxall,  155 
Croxteth  park,  98 
Croxton,  206 
Cruce,  Robert  de,  138 
Cruchell,  160 
Crumbwell,  John  de,  93 
Culbone,  336 
Cumberland  forest,  90-5 
Cumberland,  Jefferson's,  95 
Cumnor,  257 
Curson,  Francis,  196 

,,        Henry,  213 

,,        Richard,  311,  323 
Curte  Clarke,  169 
Curzon,  John,  200 

,,         Richard,  155 

,,        William,  155 

Dacra,  William  de,  93 
Dalby,  108 
Dallowe,  Mr.,  80 
Dalton,  John,  111,  114,  115 
Dama  vulgar  is,  26 
Damericii  canes,  49 
Daniel,  John,  161,  165 
Darley  abbey,  13,  69 

,,       Dale,  153 
Darrell,  family,  326 
Dart  meet,  345 
Dartmoor  forest,  2,  8,  22,  24,  41,  43,  44, 

53.  l67>  340-8 
Datchet,  290 
Daubeny,  Lord,  338 
Davenport,  Richard,  136 
Day,  Thomas,  193 
Daye,  Richard,  299 
Daxsholt,  104 
Dean,    An   Historical  and  Descriptive 

Account  of  the  Forest  of,   274 
Dean,  The  Personalities  of  the  Forest  of, 

Dean  forest,  8,  13,  20,  30,  31,  66,  71,  85, 

229,  230,  274-82 
Debenham,  John  of,  270 
,,  Michal,  270 

De  Cableicio,  7 
Defeodo,  101 
Deepdale,  121,  234 
Dear-hays,  59 
•    Deer-brouse,  19,  255 
Deer-leaps,  56 
Deer,  list  of,  76-7 
Derby,  33,  184,  200 
Derbyshire,  forest,  98,  99,  102,  103 
Delamere  forest,  132,  134-5 
"  Derebrowse,"  19,  255 
"  Derefal,"  255 
Dernhall  abbey,  13 
Derry  Hill,  322 
Derwent,  the,  37,  125,  181,  184,  185,  186 

Description  of  Leicestershire,  231 
Descriptive  List  of  the  Deer  Parks  and 

Paddocks  of  England,  85 
Despencer,  Hugh  le,  1 10 
Dettrick,  John,  194 
Devizes,  322,  323 
Devyle,  Rich,  272 
Dickson,  Carr,  74 
Dieulacres  abbey,  13,  158 
Dig-by,  Everard,  235,  236 

,,       Thomas,  248 
Digge,  Richard,  235 
Dinting,  179 
Dionysia,  114 
Disafforestation,  6 
Dispencer,  Hugh,  206,  262 
Dixon,  Mr.,  297 
Doddington,  161 
Doe,  the,  25 
Dole,  328 

Domesday  Survey,  4,  44,  136,  181,  204, 
Done,  family,  133  [232 

,,      Richard,  133,  135 
Donnington,  184 
Dorsetshire  forests,  330-2 
"  Dottard  oaks,"  197 
Doughty,  Thomas,  195 
Dove,  Richard,  36 

,,      the,  32 
Dovedale,  32 
Doverbeck,  206 
Doverhay,  336 
Drag,  139 
Draw,  139 
Drayton,  147,  148 

Henry,  245 

,,         Michael,  274 

,,         Ralph,  245 
Dronfield  Church,  154 
Druscombe,  341 

Dryden,  Sir  Henry,  50,  61,  64,  65,  66 
Duffield,  69,  140,  181,  183 

„        Castle,  182 

,,        Chase,  33 

,,        forest,  8,  9,   18,  24,  37,  39,  42, 
43,   73,    '89,    190.    '91,    197, 

198,    199,   200,  2OI,   2O2 

,,        Frith  (forest),  2,  8,  9,  13,  16,  27, 

28,  37,  39,  4°,  42,  53,  54,  57. 
58,  59,  69,  72,  74,  77,  181-203 
Dulverton,  336,  337 
Dunbridge,  344,  345 
Duncan,  Lord,  282 
Dunbryge,  344 
Dunnabridge,  344,  346 
Dunyton,  206 
Durham,  126 

,,        Cathedral,  197 

,,        forest,  96-7 
Dykes,  Richard,  95 
Dynham,  John,  338 



Easingwold,  forest  of,  7,  127,  129 

East  Grinstead,  301 

Easthampstead,  296 

Eastlegh,  Wilkin  of,  224 

Easton,  244 

Easton  wood,  74 

Ebbeston,  116 

Ebisham,  288 

Eblebourn,  313 

Ecclesburn,  the,  185,  186,  189 

Edale,  33,  43,  150,  166,  173,  177 

Eddington,  255 

Eddisbury,  133 

Eden,  the,  91 

Edmund,  Earl  of  Lancaster,   100,   102, 

137.  181 

Edward  I.,  3,  8,  20,  33,  35,  49,  52,  91, 

126,  152,  162-3,  181,  214,  246 

,,        II.,  30,  52-3,  93,  1 08,  1 10,  in, 

128,   212 
III.,   22,  38,  6l,    I  IO 

IV.,  20,  37 

VI.,  73 

the  Black  Prince,  132 

the  Confessor,  5,  267,  336 

Duke  of  York,  61,  62,  64 

Edwin,  Mr.  Chas.,  282 

Edwinstowe,  14,  212,  215,  218 

Egbert,  4 

Egginton,  John,  193 

Egham,  288,  293 

Egham  Walk,  79 

Ela,  Countess  of  Warwick,  262 

Elder,  68,  73 

Eleanor,  Queen,  228,  261,  315 

Elizabeth,  73,  297 

Ellerton,  prior  of,  57,  60 

Ellis,  Mr.  W.  S.,  302 

Elm,  68,  73 

Elmedon,  Walter  de,  146 

Elton,  Master,  194 

Eltonheved,  Richard  de,  102 

Ely,  115 

Elynton,  Ivo  de,  160 

Emborne,  the,  266 

Empington  bridge,  235 

Empson,  Richard,  253 
,,         Mr.,  122 

Emson,  Richard,  330 

Enfield  Chase,  78-81 
,,        Great  Park,  78 

Engaine  Warner,  155,  158-9 

English  Dogges,  48 

English  and  Scottish  Popular  Ballads, 

Epping  forest,  29,  40,  46,  85,  283,  286 
„       Walk,  78 

Equitium,  160 

Erdeswyk,  Thomas  de,  135 

Erdinton,  Thomas  de,  224 

Eresby,  208 

Ermynthwait,  93 

Escat,  Richard  le,  91 

Eslington,  36 

Essex  forest,  34,   41,  43-4,  47,  69,  78, 


Essex,  the  Forest  of,  283 
Essoins,  the,  n,  112,  306 
Est,  Richard,  271 
Esturney,  Adam,  341 
Eton,  262 

Eure,  William  le,  115 
Evelyn,  71,  210,  222 
Everard,  John,  338 
Everingham,  Adam  de,  205,  214 
,,  John  de,  205 

,,  Robert   de,  37,   205,    206, 

207,  209,  214 
Evermuth,  Beatrice  de,  206 

,,          Walter  de,  206 
Evesham,  228,  234 

,,          Hugh  de,  146 
Ewerby,  John,  311 
Ewyas,  Richard  of,  245,  246 
Exford,  336 
Exmoor  forest,  2,  8,   30,  53,  85,  333-8, 

341.  346 

Exploration  of  Dartmoor,  340 
Eyam,  166 
Eynsham,  262 
Eyre,  Edward,  173 

,,      forest,  10,  12,  13,  14,  15,  16 

,,       Robert,  174,  175 
Eyries  of  hawks  and  falcons,  38 
Eyton's  Shropshire,  224,  226 

Fairfax,  Guy,  119 
Fairfield,  153 
Fairlop  Oak,  286 
Falcon,  38 
Faldage,  248 
Faldagium,  345 
Fall  of  Needivood ,  The,  145 
Fallow  deer,  25,  26,  27 
Farley,  311,  324 
,,       Hall,  200 
Farnborough,  289 
Farndale,  114,  125 
Farnham,  Nicholas  de,  260 
Fauconburg,  Sir  John  de,  109,  no 
Faversham,  288 
Fawn,  28 
Feckenham  forest,  7,  149,  226,  227,  228, 


"  Fee-trees,"  70 
Felsted,  284 
Fence  month,  14,  19,  41,  59-61,  94,  103, 


Fenie  Wood,  295 
Fennes,  William  de,  314 
Fenton,  166 

,,       Christopher,  129 



Fermisona,  50 
Fermyng,  252 
Fernditch  Walk,  84 
Feme,  Richard,  200 
Ferrars,  Thomas  de,  134 
Ferrers,  family,  137,  183 

,,         Henry  de,  181 

,,         Robert,   Earl  of,  33,    60,    161, 
162,  181 

,,         Sir  Humphrey,  200 

,,         William  de,  154,  155 
Feta,  28 
Feton,  28 

Feudal  History  of  Derbyshire,  28,  29 
Fewterer,  the,  53 
Filthycroft,  319 
Finchampstead,  295,  296 
Finchford,  235 
Findern,  William  de,  160 
Fines  Villarum,  347 
Fineshead,  249 
Finmere  forest,  7 
Firebote,  68 
Fisher,  Mr.,  5,  43,  286 
Fitz-Giles,  Nicholas,  188 

-Godfrey,  Richard,  163 

-Nicholas,  Ralph,  155,  159,  258 
,,  Thomas,  163 

Nigel,  John,  160 

Osborn,  WTilliam,  225 

Peter,  Walter,  314 

Ralph,  John,  186 

-Reinfred,  Gilbert,  99 

Stephen,  Ralph,  205 
Fitzherbert,  John,  172,  194 
,,  Justice,  142 

,,  Peter,  107 

Fitzhugh,  John,  225 
Fitzstephen,  71 
Fitzwarren,  338 

Fitzwilliam,  Sir  William,  295,  296 
Flagg,  178 

Flaxley  Abbey,  71,  275,  276,  278,  280 
Fleming,  Stephen,  213 
Fletcher,  William,  95 
Fletching-,  301 
Flitteris,  235 

Foix,  Gaston  de,  50,  61,  65 
Foljambe,  Cecily,  165 
Godfrey,  194 
Henry,  164 
John,  158 
Roger,  158 

Thomas,  33,  160,  161,  164 
William,  163,  164 
Folksworth,  270 
Folowe,  Robert,  172,  173 
Folyot,  Richard,  208 
Fool,  John  the,  325 
Ford,  Robert  de,  289 
Forde,  Thomas,  293 

Foregate,  the,  228 
Forest  Agistments,  41-6 
Forest-and-Frith,  96 

,,       Charter.      See    Charter    of    the 

"  Forest  Districts,"  5 

,,       eyres,  10 

,,       Inquisitions,  15 

,,       Law,  2,  4,  5 

,,       Officers,  17-24 
Forest  Pleas,  2,   16,  25,  29,  70,  92,  227, 

234>  237>  268>  269>  284 
Forest  Quarter,  96 

,,       Ridge,  301 
Forest  Scenery,  73,  305 
Foresta  de  Lancaster,  98 
Forestarii  equitii,  20 
Foresters,  19-22 
Foresters-of-fee,  20,  21,  33,  105 
Forestry  and  the  New  Forest,  304 
Forests,  list  of,  6 
Forges,  Itinerant,  8,  275 
Forty-day  Court,  14 
Fosbroke's    Record   of  Gloucestershire, 


Foster,  William,  318 
Fotheringhay,  249,  251,  253 
Foucher,  Cicely,  190 
,,         Robert,  190 
Fouilloux,  Jacques  du,  64 
Foulbridge,  116 
Fountains,  122 
"  Fowl  of  the  Forest,"  26 
Fox,  the,  3,  25,  26,  33,  34-5 
Foxlove,  John,  118 
"  Foxtrees,"  251,  252 
Frank,  Geoffrey,  128 
Franketon,  David  de,  52,  53 
Freeman,  Professor,  4 
Freemantle  forest,  7 
Free-warren,  3 
Freford,  34 
Frely,  Robert,  188 
Fretham,  Hugh,  171 
Frimley,  293 
Frodsley,  225 
Frost,  William,  311 
Fuklyn,  Giles,  140 
,,        John,  140 
Fuller,  280 

Fulwood  forest,  44,  98,  99,  102,  103,  117 
Furches  forest,  7 
Furness,  abbot  of,  102 
Furnival,  Thomas  de,  155,  160,  161,  162, 


Galtres  forest,  9,  39,  76,  125-30,  208 
Gardiner,  Roger,  264 
Gatesgill,  93 
Gaunter,  Alan  le,  246 
Gauntlett,  Thomas,  320 



Gaystall,  93,  94,  95 

Gazehound,  50 

Geddington,  240,  252,  255,  256 

Gedling-,  John,  191 

Geese,  154 

Gelet,  Richard,  239 

Cell,  Sir  John,  180 

Genn,  William,  246 

Gentil,  John  le,  100 

,,       William,  104 
Gentleman's  Recreation,  64 
George  Inn,  Forster's  Booth,  66 
Gernet,  Benedict,  99 

,,       Roger,  99 
Gervase  de  Bernake,  33 
Giffbrd,  John,  228,  247 
Gilbert,  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  177 
Gilbewin,  Geoffrey,  239 
Gillingham,  330-1,  332 
Gilpin,  William,  73,  305 
Gladwin,  John,  220 
Glossop,  150,  151,  154,  156,  177 
Gloucester,  275,  276 

,,  Humphrey,  Duke  of,  248 

,,          Thomas  ,,         280 

Goathland,  117,  118,.  122 
Goats,  24,  45-6 
Goband,  John,  155,  156,  159 
Godalming,  310 
Godbradshawe,  177 
Godstowe,  259 

Gomfrey,  Adam,  152,  154,  161,  165 
,,         Richard,  154 
,,         Thomas,  154 
Good,  Mr.  Henry,  82 
Goodrych,  William,  214 
Goodwyn,  William,  330 
Gorges,  Eleanor  de,  338 

,,        Ralph  de,  338 
Gorse,  68 
Goscote,  235 
Gould,  E.  T.,  220 
Gower,  John,  118 
Grafton  Park,  78,  79,  296 
,,       Robert  of,  243,  245 
,,       Thomas  of,  243 
Gray,  Sir  Reginald,  235,  248,  252,  253, 
292,  330 

,,      Richard  de,  323 
Great  Casterton  bridge,  235 

,,      Dean,  277 

,,      Malvern,  227 

,,      Oakley,  242,  248 

,,      Park,  299,  300 
Gredleye,  Jphn  de,  102 
Gredling  Park,  76 
"  Green  hue,"  69 
Greendale  Oak,  222 
Greenthwaite,  94 
Gregory,  Ralph,  190 
Grendon,  John,  345 

Grenehill,  John,  280 
Grenerigg,  Elias  de,  92 

,,          William  de,  92 
Grenleng,  Robert,  246 
Gresham,  Richard,  169 
Gresley,  Alan,  155 

,,          Peter  de,  164 

,,         Thomas,  155,  192 

,,         William,  194 
Gretton,  248,  255 

,,         Thomas  de,  161 
Greves  forest,  132 

Grey,  John  de,  155,  156,  158,  159,  213 
Greyhounds,  3,  35,  47-8,  50,  104,  241 
Greytree,  229 
Grim,  Roger,  239 
Grimston,  208 
Grindsbrook  Booth,  166 
Groby,  231 

Grosvenor  family,  133 
Groveley  forest,  315,  316,  317,  318,  328-9 
Grueythwaite,  94 
Grymstede,  John  de,  314 
Grynley  park,  76 
"  Guarys,"  271 
Guildford,  38,  42,  58,  288,  289,  290,  292, 

293»  295>  296,  298 
Gurdun,  Adam,  277,  310 
Guy,  huntsman,  108 
Gvvash,  the,  235 
Gyffard,  John,  146,  147 
Gylse,  90 
Gynet,  Ingebram,  101 

Hacche,  Eustace  de,  208 

Hackness,  113,  114 

Haddon,  192 

Haericii  canes,  49 

Hagley,  149 

Hainault,  283,  286 

Haldane,  Nicholas,  109 

Halghton,  Thomas  de,  104 

Hall,  Richard,  169 

Halmote,  104 

Halter,  a,  58,  59 

Hambledon,  311 

Hamburg,  Henry  de,  102 

Hamelake,  118 

Hamfordshoe,  248 

Hamilton,  Ralph,  155 

Hamond,  John,  311 

Hampshire,  the  forests  of,  304-12 

Hamorton  Dale,  252 

Hampstead,  314 

Hampton  Court,  296 

,,         Robert,  36,  113 
Hanborough  Walter  de,  306 
Hanbury,   80,    137,    138,    139,   141,   142, 


,,  John  de,  no 

Hanger,  Richard  atte,  306 



Hanslope,  245,  246 

,,          John  of,  246 

,,          Simon  of,  245 
Hansted,  Maria,  53 
Harbela,  John  de,  93 
Hardegill,  Edward,  263 
Hardwick  Park,  85 
Hardy,  Roger,  36 
Hare,  the,  3,  25,  26,  30,  33,   34,  35-6, 


Harevvin's  mill,  235 

Harland,  98 

Harleruding,  245 

Harly,  John,  193 

Harnham  Bridge,  61 

Harpsford,  292 

Harrey,  Thomas  de,  101 

Harriers,  49 

Harrop,  104 

Hart,  the,  25,  50 

Hartfield,  301 

Harting,  32 

Hartington,  32,  162,  188 

,,  William,  Marquis  of,  144 

Hartley,  268 

Hartoft,  118 

Harwood,  96 

Haslebache,  179 

Haslewood,  Thomas,  248 

Hassop,  179 

Hastings,  Edward,  Lord,  174,  235,  236 
,,          Edmund  de,  no,  113,  120 
,,          Ralph  de,  no,  112,  113,  115 
,,          Roger,  119,  120,  121,  122 
,,          Sir  William,  109,  168,  215 

Hatfield,  219,  283 
,,        Chase,  130 
,,        Regis,  284 

Hathelakestan,  Hasculf  de,  233 

Hathersage,  57,  151 

,,  Matthew  de,  57 

Hatheway,  Ralph,  277 

Hatton,  Mr.  George  Finch,  255 

Haugh  Rise,  1 15 

Haughdale,  113 

Havering  forest,  7,  31,  258,  283,  284 

Hawk,  26,  38 

Hawkridge,  336,  337 

Hay,  Henry  del,  186 

Haybote,  68,  69 
§      Haydock,  Richard  de,  135 

Hayfield,  177,  179 

Haygrove,  279 

Hay  ward,  John,  128 

Haywood,  222 

Haxby,  129 

Hazel,  68,  73,  74 

Hazelwood,  186,  198 

Heade,  Walter  atte,  344 

Headington,  263,  264 

Heage,  33,  191,  193,  198 

Hebbe,  164 
Heeson,  John,  89 
Helot,  John,  190 
Helsley,  131 
Hemingborough,  119 
Heneage,  Sir  Thomas,  296 
Hengham,  Ralph  de,  147 
Henley,  292 

,,         Brother  William  de,  160 
Henley-in-the-Heath,  294 
Henrietta  Maria,  Queen,  125 
Henry  I.,  31,  257 

II.,  5,  9,   n,  33,  41,  60,  71,  95, 

99,   154,  267 

,,       III.,  3,  6,  7,  8,  9,  34,  36,  41,  46, 
49,  60,  88,  99,    loo,   108,   125, 
137,   162,  244,  325,  331 
,,       IV.,  128,  181,  191 
„       VI.,  128 
,,       VII.,  7,  30,   106,   118,   120,   132, 

168,  294,  307 
,,       VIII  ,  73,  89,  123,  142,  170,  172, 

!95.  295>  296 

,,       Earl  of  Lancaster,  102 
,,        Lord  Percy,  30 
,,       the  Fowler  of  Barugh,  39 
Hereditary  foresters-of-fee,  20 
Herons,  39,  302 
Herpesford,  290 
Hesket,  93,  95 
Heyden,  William,  324 
Heyes,  Ralph  of,  245 
Heyrae,  Henry  de,  314 
High  Forest,  the,  206,  207 

,,     Lindes,  138 

,,     Lynns,  141 

,,     Peak  forest.     See  Peak  forest 
Higliam  Ferrers  park,  79 
Highlands,  142 
Hillulidgate,  127 
Hilton,  96,  174 
Hinton,  Hulle  of,  224 
Hippingscomb,  327 
Historical  Recollections  for  a  History  of 

Staffordshire,  146 
History  of  Tarn-worth,  140 
Hoar  Lynte,  72,  141 
Hoare's  Wiltshire,  322,  329 
Hodleston,  104 
Hog,  Robert  le,  134 
Hoghton,  Henry  de,  104 

,,          Richard  de,  103 
Hog's  Back,  290 
Holand,  Robert  de,  54,  187 
Holbrok,  Richard  de,  246 
Holbrook,  191,  193,  198 
Holcot,  John,  251 
Holes,  Roger,  318 
Holland  forest,  105 

,,        Henry,  Earl  of,  309 
Hollingworth,  Robert,  170 



Hollinhead  forest,  74 

Hollinsclough,  166 

Holly,  68,  73,  74 

Holm,  119 

Holmcoltram,  92 

Holmeby  Park,  79 

Holnicote,  336 

Holn  Park,  90 

Holton,  Richard  of,  224 

Honey.     See  Bees 

Honor  of  Peverel,  the,  150,  151 

Hood,  Robin,  204 

Hook,  John  atte,  289 

Hooton,  132 

Hope,  150,  151,  152,  153 

,,       Bowdler,  225 

,,       Mr.  Beresford,  32 
Hopedale,  151,  152,  166 
Hopemaloysel,  279 
Hopping,  37 

Mill,  37,  38 
,,          Weir,  37 
Horewell,  226,  227 
Horewood  forest,  7 
Hornbeam,  68,  73 
Hornedroare,  295 
Home's  Town  of  Pickering,  43 
Horse-breaking,  160,  165 
Horsell,  293 

Horsenden,  William  de,  155,  159,  160 
Horses,  23,  24,  43-4 
Horston  forest,  7 
Hotham,  John,  119,  122 
Hotherinde,  John,  134 
Hoton,  William,  94 
Hough,  1 88 
Houghton,  Benjamin,  80 

,,  Simon,  270 

Houle,  Ralph,  343 
Hound,  33 
"  Houndgeld,"  47 
Hounds  and  Hunting,  47-67 
Housebote,  68,  69 
How  Park,  80 

Howard,  Thomas,  Earl  of  Suffolk,  325 
Howl  Hill,  230 
Huby,  127,  129 
Hucklow,  159 
Hudham,  Nicholas  de,  88 
Hughson,  Colonel,  180 
Hulland,  39,  54,  183,  186,  187,  190,  191, 

192.  '93.  J94.  '95.  J97>  !98>  J99>  2O3 
Hulleson,  John,  187 
Hundred  Rolls,  the,  33 
Hungayth,  Ralph,  129 
"  Hungell,"  47 
Hungerford,  Nicholas  de,  54 
,,  Robert  de,  no 

Hunt,  Richard  le,  165 
Hunter,  Nicholas,  95 
Hunters,  81 

Hunting  costumes,  64-7 

Hunting  treatises,  61-4 

Huntingdon,  128 

Huntingdonshire  forest,  268-73 

Hurdum,  Captain  David,  180 

Hurst,  Peter  del,  157 

Hutchins,  Mr.,  31,  82,  84 

Hutchin's  History  of  Dorset,  330,  332 

Hutchinson,  Mr.  Horace  G.,  304,  305 

Hutton  Bushell,  40,  45 

Huttun,  Sheriff,  128 

Hyde  Park,  78 

Hyend,  William,  213 

Hyett,  George,  280 

Hyling  Park,  So 

Ibote,  no 

Idridgehay,  186,  191,  198 
Ifwood  forest,  7 
Ightenhill,  104 
Ilchester,  335,  336,  337 
Ilger,  John,  271 
Illingworth,  Ralph,  194 
Inbounds,  9 
Incelemor  wood,  96 
Ingebram  family,  101 
Ingenia,  34 
Ingham,  65 

,,         Oliver  de,  132 

,,         Oliver,  tomb  of,  65 
Inglehard,  John,  290 
Inglesham,  267 
Inglewood  forest,  22,  90,  91,  92,  93,  94, 


Inkel,  Thomas,  239 
Inkpen,  266 
Inlodges,  9,  321 
In  lupariis,  33 
"  In  mercy,"  12 
Inquests,  15 
Instaur  de  Duff  eld,  188 
Insula,  Brian  de,  155,  159 
Ireton,  John,  194 

,,       Wood,  198 
Iron  smelting,  3,  8,  198 
Isabel  of  Clifford,  56 
Isabella,  Queen,  93,  132 
Isham,  Robert,  251 
Ispannia,  Alphonsus,  261 

,,          James  de,  261 
Itinerant  forges,  8 
luelhering,  Ralph,  245,  246 
Ivetanfield,  93 
Ivy  Church,  38,  41,  318 

Jackson,  Thomas,  190 
James  I.,  32,  177,  297 

,,      Earl  of  Northampton,  80 
Jefferson,  95 
Jenynges,  John,  129 
Jesson,  William,  201 



John,  King-,  6,  8,  9,  29,  31,  34,  49,  90, 

95,  99,  100,  107,  221,  223,  224,  275 
John,  huntsman,  108 
John  of  Lexington,  37 
Johnson,  Robert,  252 

,,         Thomas,  173,  200 
Journal  of  Forestry,  228 
Juniper,  68 
Justice  Seat,  the,  151,  152,  254,  318 

Katharine  of  Braganza,  95 

Kaye,  Richard,  196 

Kedleston  park,  85 

Kelly,  William,  344 

Kemble,  4 

Kenilworth,  54,  189,  236 

Kennet,  the,  266,  267 

Kettering-,  255 

Kevelioc,  Hugh,  Earl  of  Chester,  136 

Keynsham  forest,  7 

Kidderminster,  149 

Kidkirk,  95 

Kildale,  112 

Killamarsh,  153 

Kilpeck  forest,  7 

Kilvington,  John  de,  108,  109,  110,  in, 


Kings  Delph,  271 
Kingscliff,  46,  240,  252 
Kingsley  of  Kingsley,  133 

,,         Ralph  de,  133 
Kingsmead  Priory,  13 
Kingstag  bridge,  332 
Kingston,  333 

,,  family,  280 

Kingswood,  283 
Kingthorpe,  120 
Kinlet,  225,  226 
Kinneton,  Henry  de,  260 
Kinver,  9,  145,  148-9,  223 
Kinwardstone,  326 
Kirkby,  212,  219 

,,        Robert  de,  212 
Knaresborough  forest,  80,  130 
Knight,  John,  339 
,,        Stephen,  345 
,,         William,  31 1 
Kniveton,  John,  192 

,,          Nicholas,  193,  194,  195 

,,          William,  200 
.      Knolls,  Richard,  172 
Knossington,  233,  235 
Kynthorp,  Petronilla  de,  1 10 

Lacock,  323,  324 
Lacio,  Nicholas  de,  277 
Lacy,  Ada,  90,  91 

,,      Alice  de,  98 

,,      family,  98 

,,       Gilbert  de,  313 

,,      Reginald,  90 

Lady  Park  of  Belper,  183,  194 

Ladyshaw  Wood,  193 

Lancashire,  Baine's,  98 

Lancashire  forests,  20,  22,  74,  98-106 

Lancester,  98,  101,  102 

,,          Castle,  74,  100,  101,  102 
,,          Duchy  of,  35,  59,  70,  80,  98, 
137,  150,  166,  167,  169,  i8i| 

,,          Henry,  Earl  of,  112,  113 
,,          John,  Duke  of,  190 
,,          Thomas,    Earl   of,    98,    109, 

tip,  113 
,,          William  de,  96 

Langdon,  118,  122 

Langesdon,  Mathew  de,  157 

Langford,  Ralph,  193 

Langham,  235 

Langlandebroke,  101 

Langley,  Geoffrey,  206,  243 
,,        John  de,  262 
,,         Thomas  de,  31,  258,  259,  261 

Langport,  336,  337 

Langton,  Robert,  233 

Langwith  Bridge,  213 

Lansdowne,  Marquis  of,  324 

Lanthony,  258 

Lardiner,  David  le,  126 
,,         Philip  le,  126 

Lark,  26 

Lascelles,  Hon.  G.  W. ,  304,  305 

Lascy,  Matilda  de,  96 
,,       Walter  de,  275 

Later  Forest  History,  76-86 

Latimer,  William,  117,  215 

Launde  Priory,  13 

La  Venerie,  64 

Laverstoke,  314,  322 

,,  Jordan  de,  314 

"  Lawing,"  47 

Lawson,  Sir  George,  129 

Laxpeniard  wood,  277 

Laying,  Ralph,  139 

Layrthorpe  Bridge,  128 

Laythegryme,  105 

Leach,  Peter  de,  160 

Lead  smelting,  3,  198 

Leake,  Thomas,  217 

Leche,  Sir  Philip,  191 

"  Le  Cowhouse,"  190 

Lee,  Nicholas  de,  100 
,,    Randall,  169 

Leek  forest,  136 

Leen,  206 

Lees,  Mr.  Edwin,  228 

Legh,  Reginald  de,  147 
,,       Sir  William  de,  135 

Leghe,  Thomas,  194 

Le  Haw,  235 

Leicester  Abbey,  13 

,,        Roger  de,  no 



Leicester,  William  of,  269 

Leicestershire  and  Rutland  forests,23i-6 

Leighfield  forest,  235 

Leland,  96,  227,  330 

Lench,  Peter  de,  277 

Lenta,  the,  266,  267 

Lenton,  13,  29,  158,  214,  220 

Lepers,  101,  243 

Leporarius,  47 

Lestrange,  Robert,  131 

„          Roger,  147,  160 
Levere,  William,  1 1 1 
Lewisham  woods,  38,  113,  119 
Lewes,  234 

,,       battle  of,  162 
Lewknor,  Geoffrey  de,  269 
Lexington,  Robert  de,  155,  156,  158,  159 
Lichfield,  147,  148,  156,  287 
Likenfield  Park,  76 
Lilleshall  Abbey,  13,  158,  166 
Lime,  68,  71-2,  118,  141 
Limehound,  48,  50 
Linby,  14 
Lincoln,  206-8,  212 
Linde,  Thos.  de  la,  332 
,,      John        ,,      332 
,,      Walter   ,,      332 
Lindley,  206,  212,  215 
Lindsay,  Robt.  of,  246 
Lion,  Peter  de,  224 
Lisburn,  Lord,  81 
Litchfield,  John,  220 
Little  Dean,  277 

Eye,  the,  235 

Hucklow,  1 80 

Malvern,  227 

Oakley,  248 

Park,  the,  253,  297 

Weldon,  255 
Litton,  1 80 

Livre  de  Chasse,  61,  64 
London,  39 

,,        Sir  Walter  de,  39 
Long,  Thos.,  323 
Longcombe,  337 

Longdendale,  150-2,  154,  163,  177 
Longford,  Sir  Ralph,  172,  194-5 
Longley  Park,  185,  188 
Lonsdale  forest,  98-100,  102-4 
Loretti,  Centisse,  148 
Lough,  Edm.,  325 
Loughborough,  174,  206 
Loughton,  283 
Lovel,  John,  261 
Lovet,  John,  242 
Lowe,  Anthony,  195 

„      Thos.,  195 
Lowick,  243,  246 
,,        Alan  of,  245 
„        Hugh  of,  245 
Lovvnde,  Richard,  253 

Lowton  Walk,  78-9 
Luccombe,  336 

,,          Phil  de,  337 
Lucy,  Geof.  de,  261 
Ludworth,  166 
Lune,  the,  74 
Lusignan,  Aymer  de,  243 
Lutericii  canes,  49 
Luttrell,  Sir  John,  330 
Lyddington,  236 
Lydekker,  32 
Lydford,  340-6 
Lyme  forest,  136 
Lymers,  48,  50,  63 
Lyndhurst,  305-6,  315 
Lynne,  Will,  248 
Lysle,  Sir  Nicholas,  327-8 
Lyveden, 243 

Macclesfield  forest,  136 
Magnus,  Thomas,  123 
Maiden  Bradley,  329 
Maidstonfeld,  177 
Maidwell,  the,  247 

,,          Sir  Alan,  243 
Mainour,  14 
Makeney,  198 

Malmesbury,  William  of,  257 
"Malloesot"  bridge,  290 
Malpas,  David,  250,  253 

,,         Edmund,  248 
Malton,  prior  of,  57,  60,  1 16 
Malvern  forest,  226,  227,  228 
Manley,  Peter  de,  112,  113 
,,         jun.,  Peter  de,  36 
Manners,  Sir  John,  177 
Manneser,  John,  109 
Mansell,    183,    187,    188,    191,   192,    193, 

194,   195,  200,  201 
Mansergh,  Roger,  1 1 1 
Mansfield,  14,  37,  66,  204,  212,  215,  216, 


Mantravers,  John,  306 
Manver,  Earl,  221 
Manwood,  1,13,  25,  54,  63 
Maple,  72-3 
Maplegreen,  132 

Mara,  36,  38,  39,  45,  133,  134,  135 
March,  Edmund,  Earl  of,  338 

,,       Roger  Mortimer,  Earl  of,  316, 


Marchington,  137,  138,  139,  140,  141 
"  Mareclos,"  189 
Mares,  Robert  de,  243 
Maresfield,  301,  302 
Markam,  Gervase,  64 
Marlborough,  326 
Marmyon,  Philip,  147 
Marnham,  Nicholas  de,  161 
Marshall,  John,  170,  322 
Martendale  Fell,  85 



Martin,  the,  25,  36 
Martinside,  163 
Martinsley,  235 
Marton,  125 
Mary,  Queen,  go,  297 
Master  of  Game,  The,  61,  62 
"  Masers,"  72 
Mastiff,  34,  47,  48,  50 
Mathew,  Richard,  311 
Maunsell,  William,  129 
Mawes,  Robert,  235,  236 
"  Maxenclif,"  189 
May,  William,  155 
Maynestonfield,  167 
Meaux,  Sir  John  de,  38 
Medue,  Henry  de,  161,  163 
Medwood  forest,  191 
Meht,  Maurice  de,  242,  243 
Melburne,  54,  206 
Melksham,  29,  323 
Mendip  forest,  29,  53,  333 
Menill,  Sir  Nicholas  de,  36 
Mensis  -vetitus,  60 
Menzies,  Mr.,  297,  299 
Mercer,  Ellis,  264 

,,        Henry  le,  148 
Merivale,  13,  158,  160 
Merlins,  38 
Mernyk,  William,  271 
Mersey,  the,  133 
Merton,  288 

,,        of  Merton,  133 
Messarius,  239 
Messias,  John,  245 
Metham,  Sir  Thomas,  119